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New Agrarian Program

Apprenticeships in Regenerative Agriculture

The New Agrarian Program will offer one eight-month apprenticeship at each of the following operations during the 2017 season.

Brett Gray Ranch (Rush, CO) - Cattle Ranching Apprenticeship
Cobblestone Ranch (Los Motions, CA) - Sheep and Cattle Ranching Apprenticeship
James Ranch Artisan Cheese (Durango, CO) - Cheesemaking and Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship
Ranney Ranch (Corona, NM) - Cattle Ranching Apprenticeship
San Juan Ranch (Saguache, CO) - Cattle Ranching Apprenticeship
Tooley's Trees (Truchas, NM) - Holistic Orchard Management Apprenticeship
Vilicus Farms (Havre, MT) - Organic Grain Farming Apprenticeship

Application information for our 2017 New Agrarian apprenticeships will be available October 19, 2016. Applications will be due December 1, 2016.

Please send questions and inquiries to Sarah Wentzel Fisher, New Agrarian Program Coordinator: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher.


The New Agrarian Program offers apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture through partnership with mentor ranchers and farmers who are part of the Quivira community. In particular, this program aims to build resilience on Western lands by training the next generation of stewards in agricultural best practices, and by training ranchers and farmers to be mentors.

Our apprenticeship program works closely with carefully selected rancher and farmer mentors who are dedicated stewards of the land; practice beyond organic, regenerative methods of food production; provide excellent animal care; and who are natural teachers for young agrarians.

For specifics on the program, pleas read the Program Overview.

For more info on apprenticeship opportunities, contact Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, New Agrarian Program Coordinator: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher.

For more info on program history or becoming a mentor, contact Virginie Pointeau, New Agrarian Program Director: Virginie Pointeau.

New Publication

For the last year, the New Agrarian Program has delved deep into the state of agricultural apprenticeship in the US as part of a Thornburg Foundation funded research project. The culmination of this work is a 120+ page book detailing our findings, profiling apprenticeship programs around the US, and a guide to starting an apprenticeship on your ranch or farm. In 2015, the New Agrarian Program launched a national dialogue among agricultural apprenticeship programs in order to foster systemic improvements in agricultural education and practice and to encourage the development of new programs of a consistently high quality. Initial research included in-depth analysis of apprenticeship programs, follow-up interviews, and site visits to diverse regions and regenerative agricultural operations. This work has culminated in Agrarian Apprenticeship. We hope you enjoy reading it, and using it as a resource.  The digital edition is available for free online here, you can download a PDF, or you can order a hard copy for $30. The print edition is a limited run, so reserve a copy today by emailing Download the PDF

Being a Mentor with the New Agrarian Program

We will be expanding the New Agrarian Program over the next two years, and will soon be seeking applications from established ranchers and farmers interested in mentoring the next generation.

NAP partners with mentors who are full-time, established ranchers or farmers with a minimum of five years' experience; who practice "beyond organic," regenerative agriculture; and who are passionate teachers actively seeking to train young people in their field.

We are currently seeking new partnerships with a few operations in New Mexico, southern Colorado, eastern Arizona and West Texas.

For additional information on our apprenticeships, including mentor qualifications and guidelines, please read the Program Overview.

To apply, visit our Become a Mentor page.

Please send questions and inquiries to Virginie Pointeau, New Agrarian Program Director: VIrginie Pointeau. 505.820.2544, Ext. 5.

Program History

"Once upon a time apprenticeship was the primary form of education available to a person, whatever the field - medicine, music, cobbler, or scholar. Not necessarily a beginner but not yet a master, an apprentice agreed to work for a specific period of time for a master craftsperson in a craft or trade, in return for instruction. An agrarian apprenticeship is a form of this age-old process whereby a learner becomes a practitioner." -Julie Sullivan, San Juan Ranch, CO

Quivira's New Agrarian Program grew out of the understanding that agriculture drives economies, creates green jobs and directly affects the health of our nation. With the national average age of U.S. ranchers and farmers approaching sixty, and with less than two percent of the U.S. population currently dedicated to producing food, it is critical that we increase the number and accessibility of training opportunities for the next generation of food producers and land stewards. If we fail to take proactive measures to train the next generation of agrarians, we face further degradation of natural resources and ecosystem services, food insecurity, and the development of prime agricultural land.

For young, aspiring ranchers and farmers, a daunting barrier to starting up a successful, regenerative agricultural enterprise is lack of opportunity to learn on the ground alongside established practitioners so that vital, experience-based knowledge can be transferred to a new generation of land stewards.

Since 2008, NAP has partnered with ranches and farms around the Southwest to design and implement intensive, eight- to twelve-month apprenticeships for new agrarians. This selective, in-residence professional development program offers experiential training in all aspects of a resilient agricultural enterprise. It was designed to support the next generation of food producers, and is targeted specifically at young people with a sincere commitment to a life and career at the intersection of conservation and regenerative agriculture.


Pledge today!

Help New Agrarians access:
  • Hands on, in-residence apprenticeships
  • Dedicated mentorship from expert ranchers and farmers
  • Business planning and financial management training
  • Post-graduation support and guidance into career track positions
  • Cross generational networking opportunities

Fund an apprentice for:
2 weeks $750
1 month $1500
4 months (half apprenticeship) $6000
8 months (full apprenticeship!) $12000

For information on how to support New Agrarian Program apprenticeships, contact

Career Connection

The New Agrarian Career Connection is a great place to find just the right candidate for your ranch or farm. Please take a moment to send us your opportunity details by November 2. You will be listed in the event program and assigned a table where job seekers can find you.
RSVP for this fall's event!

Quivira Coalition recognizes the urgent need to connect established producers and land managers with the next generation of ranchers and farmers who will be responsible for growing our food and caring for the planet.

New Agrarian Career Connection is hosted by Quivira Coalition's New Agrarian Program and the Rio Grande Farmers Coalition twice a year. Prospective employers/mentors include (but are not limited to) private ranches and farms, conservation groups, food advocacy organizations, government agencies, land use service consultants (e.g. Holistic Management) and related private-sector businesses. Quivira's New Agrarian Program works with the Rio Grande Farmers Coalition to help ensure a strong showing of highly qualified, enthusiastic beginning farmers, ranchers and land advocates in search of mentorship and opportunity.

This event happens twice a year; in the fall at the Quivira Conference and in the spring at the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference.

This event happens in collaboration with:

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