CFA Apprenticeship Program

Leaders Start Here

Farm managers are in demand across California. Our job is to equip motivated and talented farmworkers for these vital and highly paid positions. Your job – whether worker or employer – is to get connected. 

The California Farm Academy’s Beginning Farm and Ranch Manager Apprenticeship is registered with the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards and combines two years of paid on-the-job training and instruction. Participants graduate at the journeyman level. 

Operations seeking high-caliber talent or who have identified existing stellar workers can partner with us and be confident in the knowledge, professionalism, and leadership skills our graduates obtain.

Beginning Farmer Training

On the Job

Apprentices complete 3,000 hours of paid training on commercial production farms ranging from two to 4,000 acres. Participating farms, which may use conventional or organic practices, grow a diversity of crops, such as processing tomatoes, rice, wine grapes, tree nuts, and mixed vegetables, and sell to a variety of markets, including direct markets, distributors, brokers, processors, and community supported agriculture.

Duties vary between farms, but all participants receive a minimum number of hours of hands-on training in specific work processes, such as equipment fabrication, soil management, sales, and marketing. Work schedules are dictated by farm and by season, but apprentices can anticipate 30 to 60 of weekly work. Typically, compensation begins at minimum wage and increases by $0.50 an hour every six months. Individuals already employed by a farm can enroll if the farmer agrees to participate.


In the Classroom

Apprentices complete a minimum of 250 coursework hours and pursue basic production, leadership, and management knowhow. Opportunities are also available to test out of core modules in exchange for individualized coursework targeted to the apprentice’s needs and goals. This route could include approved short courses, industry tours, conferences, field days, workshops, or community college / trade school classes.

Ready When You Are

Future journeymen must meet minimum eligibility requirements and fill out the pre-application form on our How to Apply page, at which time a CLBL program manager will reach out with a phone call and support qualified candidates in completing a full application and phone interview. Finally, high-scoring applications are sent to employers who will conduct their own interviews with promising candidates. If there’s a match, applicants receive job offers directly from the farm.

Looking to grow with your current company?

Take a look at the work processes with your employer and discuss your opportunities to complete the necessary hours. If you and your employer can make it happen, submit a pre-application. Our program staff will work with you and your employer to further determine eligibility.

Interested employers can hire a vetted and motivated apprentice through the application process or enroll a current employee ready to be upskilled. Farms must provide adequate experience in our work processes areas and meet the minimum time, wage, and workers compensation requirements. Visit our Farmer Mentor page for details and direction.

Got more questions? Right this way.

Farmer in his tractor