Apprenticeship Programs Coming for Tree and Vine Growers
By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor
Coming soon…. apprenticeship training for tree nut and vineyard farmers. Elaine Swiedler is the apprenticeship program coordinator for the Center for Land-Based Learning based in Winters, California.
“We currently run the beginning farm and ranch management program, which was approved by the California Department of Apprenticeship Standards in January 2018 and right now we’ve worked with diversified growers up in the Yolo County, some in Sacramento County area, majority of people doing row crops, a couple of people farming orchards,” said Swiedler.
The program was developed to address kind of a real need for management in farming, whether it’s taking over for an owner or just filling in some middle layers and there’s definitely a real need and gap in the nut industries and also wine grapes. “We’ve learned from people that either would want to work with or just looking over the needs in the estate. Our goal is to serve the ag industry as a whole and also create viable pathways for incoming people,” she noted
Swiedler was at the recent Tree and Vine Expo in Turlock surveying growers.
“We wanted to find out what those labor needs are. And the Walnut Board and the Almond Board have both partnered with us in addition to the California association of wine grape growers,” Swiedler said. “Those three different organizations have helped us pilot the survey. So that’s the first step in understanding what the labor needs are of industry.”