The Center for Dairy Excellence is looking for individuals aged 18 years or older to be employed as apprentices on dairy farms in our Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship. Over the past five years, the Center for Dairy Excellence has heard from dairy producers about their need for a more skilled workforce in management on Pennsylvania farms. This need was further demonstrated in our PA Dairy Study and dairy producer meetings, which identified the need for a registered apprenticeship in Dairy Herd Management. 

  • Farm managers earned an average of $59,760 in 2020, according to Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.
  • A dairy herd manager requires training beyond a high school education, but doesn’t necessarily need a college degree.
  • The Center for Dairy Excellence has registered a Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

Purpose of the Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship

  • To provide existing employees on dairy farms the opportunity to receive related technical training and on-the job learning as a Dairy Herd Manager.
  • To create opportunities for employees to gain practical knowledge, information, and skills about progressive dairy operations stretching beyond their familiar past dairy experiences.
  • To provide an employee with a position on the farm that is financially lucrative and competitive with industry standards.
  • To allow for existing dairy producers to develop beginner-level employees into well-qualified candidates to serve in herd management roles.
  • To provide real-farm perspective into what skillsets individuals need to develop to become qualified Dairy Herd Managers on mid- to large-sized dairy farm operations.

Expectations of the Apprentice

The apprentice must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age or older.
  • Have a high school diploma or GED.

NOTE: Farm experience is preferred but not required.

Apprentices are expected to:

  • Participate in an informational session with the Center for Dairy Excellence.
  • Participate in one-on-one call with the CDE Workforce Development Manager.
  • Participate in monthly visits and reviews with the journeyworker and CDE Workforce Development Manager.
  • Master all competencies for the Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship as outlined. 
  • Complete at least 3,000 hours of PAID On-the-Job Training and 216 hours of UNPAID Related Technical Instruction during the Dairy Herd Manager Apprenticeship on a Pennsylvania dairy farm.


We will accept apprentices on a rolling admission basis. Click here to apply to become an apprentice.

Feel free to contact Michelle Shearer at or 570-768-8316 with additional questions.