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Wisconsin Apprenticeship Program Prepares Future Dairy Farmers

Now, Mericka is, in a way, paying it forward.He’s hosting an aspiring farmer through the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, or DGA. It acts like a matchmaking service, partnering master farmers with beginning farmers or experienced farmers who want to transition to grazing.It’s his friend, Matt Nielsen, who like Mericka, did not grow up in a farming family. Nielsen has toyed with the idea of becoming a farmer since he was a kid. But before settling down on the farm, he had to get some things out of his system."I’ve been living in Chile the last couple years. I took a big bike trip, and I’ve just kind of seen what I wanted to see," said Nielsen. "But that agitation was always in the back of my mind, calling me. 'Maybe I should try dairy farming again?' I found myself all throughout my travels still reading about dairy farming, still trying to download all these publications about cheesemaking. I thought, 'Well, what am I putting it off for anymore?'"Now that he’s ready to dive in, Nielsen decided DGA was the best way to prepare himself to be a farmer.

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Wisconsin Public Radio