Apprentice

class launched

California's Division of Apprenticeship Standards has partnered with the College of Marin and Fresh Run Farm to offer students an apprenticeship program for organic farming.

The program includes 1,800 hours of hands-on paid training at Fresh Run Farm in Bolinas and 11 courses provided by the College of Marin. Students will be able to complete the program in two years or less, according to a news release.

The Organic Farming and Gardening Apprenticeship Program is the latest of 611 active apprenticeship programs recognized in California by DAS, a division of the Department of Industrial Relations.

"We realize there are particular challenges organic farmers face, and the organic apprenticeship program will benefit this niche industry and support the continued growth of organic farming by providing valuable training to future farmers about sustainable, local food systems,"said John C. Duncan, director of the department.

The Division of Apprenticeship Standards creates opportunities to gain employable lifetime skills and provides employers with a skilled workforce by administering California apprenticeship laws and enforcing apprenticeship standards for wages, hours and working conditions.

Information is available online at www.dir.ca.gov/das -- click on "Find an Apprenticeship Program."

-- Steve Brown

Spring calving wraps up in Neb.

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- About three-quarters of Nebraska's spring calving is done, and many farmers are getting ready to plant their crops.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says ranchers have enjoyed favorable conditions for calving this spring. The recent warm, dry weather has helped rangeland start to green up and improved feedlot conditions.

About 82 percent of the state's cattle were in good or excellent condition. That fact was part of the USDA's first weekly crop report for Nebraska's 2011 growing season.

Damp weather slows S. Dakota

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Wet ground is keeping farm equipment in the shed across much of South Dakota.

A report from the Agricultural Statistics Service said no oats or barley has been seeded yet and only 1 percent of spring wheat is in the ground. Normally, 4 percent of spring wheat has been seeded by now.

The snowmelt along with snow and rain is delaying field work. Forty-four percent of the state reports too much topsoil moisture.

The service said cool weather is keeping the winter wheat crop from breaking dormancy. Winter wheat is seeded in fall and goes dormant over winter before starting to grow again in spring.

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