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Pasa honors recipients of the Diversified Vegetable Apprentice program on Friday, Feb. 11, in Lancaster, Pa. From left are Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding, R.J. Brison, Phoebe Brubaker, Kofi Sankofa, Subarna Sijapati and Pasa's Dan Dalton, who leads the apprenticeship program.

LANCASTER, Pa. — Six young farmers-in-training were honored by Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding on Friday, Feb. 11 in Lancaster, during the annual Pasa Sustainable Agriculture conference, held this year from Feb. 10-12.

The young farmers were awarded certificates of completion for graduating from the Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship program. The farmer-to-farmer apprenticeships are part of a formal apprenticeship program started seven years ago and now registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry.

The intensive training opportunity pairs beginning farmers with established host farmers to provide a hands-on education in managing or starting a vegetable farm. Host farmers benefit from the program because they have a dedicated employee for the full farming season.

Apprentices are paid a wage and learn everything from crop planning, production and harvesting to weed control, marketing, equipment maintenance and farm management.

Longtime organic farm, New Morning Farm in Hustontown, Fulton County, has been one of the host farms for the Diversified Vegetable Apprenticeship program, most recently providing training for graduates Kofi Sankofa and Subarna Sijapati. The 95-acre farm is focused on training new generations of farmers and has a well-developed new farmer teaching system. More than 30 other farms are also available to host apprentices and locations can be found on the Pasa Sustainable Agriculture website.

Anne Harnish is the food and family editor for Lancaster Farming. She can be reached at 717-721-4428 or at aharnish@lancasterfarming.com

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