Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship welcomes Veteran Liaison Matt Keesling
Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship (DGA) is proud to welcome Matthew Keesling as the program’s new Veteran Liaison. Keesling’s work will be supported over the next three years through a USDA grant to create a dairy farming career path for military veterans through participation in the Apprenticeship. DGA is the first in the nation federally registered formal Apprenticeship in agriculture, providing an immersive learning experience comprised of two years of paid, on-the-job training on private dairy farms, and related classroom instruction.
Keesling is an Army veteran with 24 years of service. He is currently completing a DGA Apprenticeship with dairy farmer, and retired Army Reservist, Andy Bures in Deerbrook, WI. Matt’s career took him around the globe, including three tours in Iraq and two in Afghanistan in a variety of duty positions. Keesling’s final assignment was on a Joint Staff where he worked with all branches of service. “Matt brings a perfect blend of skills and experience,” said Joe Tomandl, DGA Executive Director. “He knows the culture of military service, understands dairy farming, and knows what it’s like to be an Apprentice in the program.”
As part of the project, DGA also plans to expand availability of the program to two to four additional states. Currently operating in 11 states, DGA has a network of over 160 participating farms (“Masters”) approved to conduct training.
Funding for the project is provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Enhancing Agricultural Opportunities for Military Veterans Competitive Grants Program (AgVets). Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is also supported in part by a grant from USDA-NIFA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and by other funding partners, industry sponsors, and individuals.
For more information on DGA and how you can get involved, visit dga-national.org or contact Joe (715-560-0389 or firstname.lastname@example.org), Laura (608-338-9039 or email@example.com) or Matt (715-623-6915 or firstname.lastname@example.org).