Did you know that 50% of the fruits and vegetables consumed in the U.S. are grown in California? Many growers are close to retirement. That’s why training and support for NEW farmers is so important. The Center for Land-Based Learning has created programs to inspire, educate, and cultivate future generations of farmers, agricultural leaders and natural resource stewards.

Apprentice Alex Hasbach – She has just been offered a job by her farmer mentor, Bruce Rominger, of Rominger Brothers

Here in America’s Farm to Fork Capital, we are lucky to be able to grow and consume local fruits and veggies all year long. We don’t want to rely on other countries for our food supply, which is why we need to invest in our future farmers now. The California Farm Academy’s beginning farmer training program teaches aspiring farmers through both hands on and classroom education, plus provides access to land and technical support. Applications for the California Farm Academy training program are being accepted now!

Hope Sippola and Shayne Zurilgen – graduated from the Farm Academy in 2016 and are now farming at Fiery Ginger Farm

About the Program

The California Farm Academy Apprenticeship Program is for highly motivated, committed individuals who know they want a career in agriculture. We expect our graduates to fill critical management positions on farms across the country, take the reins from farmers looking at retirement, or launch their own farming operations. The program lasts approximately two years, and is a formal, registered apprenticeship with both paid on-the-job training and supplemental coursework. We have recognition from the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards as a professional training program, making us the first registered apprenticeship program for Beginning Farm and Ranch Managers in California. Upon completion, the apprentice will graduate to a Journeyman level in the occupation of a Beginning Farm and Ranch Manager.

On-the-Job Training

Apprentices are required to complete 3,000 hours of paid, on-the-job training within 2 years by working with a farmer mentor. Unless otherwise discussed, compensation starts at minimum wage and increases by $0.50 approximately each 6 months. Apprentices will receive a minimum number of hours of hands-on training in certain work processes. Apprentices will work anywhere from 35 to 60+ hours per week in the high season depending on the needs of the farm. Most host farms will hire sometime in March.

Coursework & Related and Supplemental Instruction (RSI)

Apprentices are required to complete a total of 250 hours of coursework over the 2 years of the program. Apprentices will be enrolled in the California Farm Academy’s 7-month Beginning Farmer Training Program from mid-February to mid-September in their first year. There are approximately 78 classes and 200 hours of coursework, which includes lectures, labs and directed farm visits. The remaining 50 hours of curriculum will be based on the apprentice’s own Farm Career Plan, articulating skills and knowledge that the apprentice wishes to prioritize to achieve their career goals.

To learn more about Center for Land-Based Learning and the California Farm Academy, CLICK HERE

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