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New and Beginning Farmer Resources

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This page is currently under development. To offer feedback about this page or suggest a resource, please fill out this very short survey.

Land Access

Business Planning and Advising

New Farmer Courses

Getting Registered

Product-Specific Resources

Selling Your Products

Regulations, Permits, and Construction on Farms

Grants and Loans

Farming Practices

Health and Wellness

Veteran Farmers

BIPOC Farmers

Farmers with Disabilities

Women-Owned Farms

LGBTQ Farmers

Immigrant/Refugee Farmers

Stay Connected

Are you a new or beginning farmer or an aspiring farmer? The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is here to help. We may not have an answer to all of your questions, but we will do our best to point you in the right direction.

VAAFM has compiled this list of potential resources as a public bulletin board to share contacts and information. Please note this available resource list is not a list of endorsements or recommendations from VAAFM and should not be seen as such. VAAFM makes no representations about any listed resource, has not made value judgments, has not intentionally excluded any resource, and no negative inference should be drawn about any entity because it is not listed. Anyone electing to use any listed resource should perform their own due diligence.

We are doing our best to be comprehensive and to keep this page updated, but this list is still likely incomplete or out of date.

This page is currently under development. To offer feedback about this page or suggest a resource, please fill out this very short survey.

Find other compilations of Vermont-based resources for new farmers at these sites: Farmer Resources — Rural VermontBeginning Farmer Resource Hub - UVMFarmer Resources – Vital CommunitiesResource Directory - FarmFirst

Land Access

  • Assessing Land-Based Environmental Risk Factsheet: Although designed for hemp producers, this sheet contains useful information for anyone choosing land to farm. 
  • The Vermont Land Trust and Intervale Center Provides a flow chart to show the steps for farmland purchases.
  • Farmland Access Program (802) 861-6555: Vermont Land Trust helps new farmers find land that has been conserved by retiring farmers, and will assist provider and recipient with the land transfer. 
  • Vermont Land Link (802) 660-0440 x116: The ‘Find a Farm’ tool shows farms posted for sale, lease, or other tenure arrangements. 
  • Agrarian Commons (833) 99FARMSSupports land access for the next generation of farmers. 
  • Land For Good (603) 357-1600: Provides caring support and expert guidance to help farmers, landowners and communities navigate land access, tenure, and transfer. 
  • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust: Advances land sovereignty and secures land tenure for Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian farmers and land stewards. 
  • Everytown ProjectAims to place at least one parcel of land in every town in Vermont permanently in trust for stewardship and access for Black, Indigenous, and all People of Color (BIPOC).  
  • Farmland Access Legal Toolkit: This Vermont Law School project helps farmers and landowners affordably access, transfer, and conserve farmland. 
  • Financing for Farmland Access Team (802) 828-5669: A Vermont Farm to Plate stakeholder team focused on issues related to cost, accessibility and equity in relation to farmland in Vermont. 

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Business Planning & Advising

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New Farmer Courses

  • UVM Extension (802) 476-2003 - Provides classes and courses for beginning and aspiring farmers  
  • UVM Farmer Training Program - Runs a six-month hands-on farming course
  • NOFA-VT (802) 434-4122 - Provides advising to certified organic, transitioning to organic, and non-certified farmers using sustainable practices at all stages of business development 
  • NOFA-VT Journey Farmer Program (804) 434-7154 - Runs a one-year program for beginning farmers who are in the first few years of operating their own farm business in Vermont  

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    Getting Registered

    • Farm Services Administration (802) 658-2803: Registering with FSA allows farms to be eligible for many federal program benefits including low-interest loans, commodity price supports, disaster relief, and conservation grants. 
    • Vermont Secretary of State (802) 828-2386: Has developed a step-by-step guide for registering your business and recommends contacting an accountant or attorney for questions about what type of business you should choose when registering. 
    • Vermont Department of Taxes (802) 828-2505: Has developed a step-by-step outline of what is required to start or buy a business. The Current Usedivision additionally provides information on how agricultural purchases and agricultural purchases may qualify for tax reductions or exemptions. 
    • Vermont Legal Food Hub - Connects farmers, food entrepreneurs, and food system organizations with free legal services. 
    • Farm Commons: Farm Business Entity Flowchart - Provides farmers with tools to help choose the best business entity for their farm operation 

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    Product-Specific Resources and Regulations

    • Bees & Honey (802) 272-6688: Apiary Program supports the Vermont beekeeping industry through education, outreach, and promotion, with a focus on honeybee disease and pest mitigation. 
    • Dairy (802) 828-2433: Dairy staff provide inspection services and answer questions from farmers and processors to help ensure minimum sanitation standards are met in their production practices. 
    • Eggs (802) 622-4412: These products are inspected for proper labeling and to determine the quality of the product. FLAG - No link?
    • Fruits and Vegetables (802) 461-5128: The Vermont Produce Program works with fruit and vegetable farms to enhance produce safety and promote public health. Potatoes, apples, and strawberries have additional grading and labeling requirements 
    • Hemp - (802) 505-3726: As of December 31, 2022, you will need to register with USDA to cultivate hemp in compliance with federal law. FLAG- Cannabis control board reference here too? Or link to USDA?
    • Maple (802) 828-2433: Program staff can help with information for producers and packers with regulatory requirements that must meet quality, food safety, and labeling for pure maple syrup and other maple products. 
    • Meat (802) 828-2426: Meat Inspection staff provide inspection servicesfor meat and poultryslaughter operations, simple processing for ground products and individual cuts, complex processing for products such as ham, bacon, summer sausage, and Jerky products, and much more. 
    • Seeds, Nursery Plants, Christmas Trees, and Ginseng (802) 505-0217: The Plant Health program provides inspection services for these products and can assist producers to understand the product-specific requirements.  
    • VAAFM Licensing Library (802) 828-2436: This library helps producers find and apply for the required licenses and registrations for bringing their products to market.  
    • Regulations For Products Commonly Sold in Vermont Farmers Markets (802) 636-7793: The Agencyregulates many of the foods sold or distributed at farmersmarkets, including red meat and poultry products, raw milk and processed dairy products, eggs, maple products, potatoes, apples and strawberries as well as the small scales many vendors use.
    • Adult-Use and Medical Cannabis (802) 828-1010: The Cannabis Control Board provides information to implement and administer the laws enabling adult use and medical use of cannabis in Vermont safely, equitably, and effectively.
    • Food processing and value-added food products (802) 863-7221: Vermont Department of Health Food and Lodging Program offers guidance for preparing or selling value-added food products.

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    Selling Your Products

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    Regulations, Permits, and Construction on Farms

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    Grants and Loans  

    • Plan for upcoming VAAFM grant deadlines using the funding opportunity calendar. Most grants are designed for established farm businesses, so it may be hard to have a competitive grant application when your business is in its very early stages. Early-stage businesses might first wish to consider various loan programs and business planning support.
    • 2022 Guide to Assistance For Agricultural Producers of Vermont - This guide was developed by the Franklin County Natural Resource Conservation District to help connect farmers to statewide financial and technical assistance opportunities.
    • Farm Services Administration: Provides financial assistance to help farmers start a farm, expand their operation, improve natural resources or recover from natural disasters. Loans Guidebook explains how programs can be accessed by small-scale, diversified farmers, including those who are growing organically, farming in urban environments, marketing through CSAs, or exploring non-traditional growing practices like aquaponics or rooftop agriculture. 
    • Natural Resource Conservation Service (802) 951-6796: Administers grants and provides advice to help agricultural producers make and maintain conservation improvements on their land. 
    • Farm to Plate Food System Financing InventoryInventories a list of funding providers who support farm and food businesses. 
    • Rural Economic Development Initiative (802) 828-1098: Offers grant writing assistance to rural communities and small businesses interested in applying for federal funds and other funding sources  
    • American Farmland Trust Micro Grant (413) 586-9330: Provides grants of up to $5000 to support farmer’s needs.  

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    Agronomy and Farming Practices

    • University of Vermont Extension (802) 476-2003: Has expertise in agricultural production, grazing, processing, marketing, business planning, and more, and can help you for free. 
    • Natural Resources Conservation Districts: Provide agricultural producers with free technical, financial, and educational assistance for working with state and federal programs 
    • Natural Resource Conservation Service: Provides free services to help agricultural producers figure out how to make and maintain conservation improvements on their land. 
    • VT Invasives: Provides assistance with species identification anddevelopment of management plans for invasive species in both terrestrial and forested landscapes.
    • A variety of private agricultural consultancy groups operate in the state of Vermont, including Bourdeau Brothers (nutrient, feed and crop management), Agricultural Consulting Services (nutrient and crop management), Scott Magnan’s Custom Service (precision agriculture and nutrient and crop management), and Sarah Flack (for grazing).
    • Food Systems Skills Training (800) 442-8821: This Vermont Technical College course trains attendees in integrated pest management, butchery, organic regulation training for livestock and crops.

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    Health and Wellness

    • Farm First: Provides free services to farmers who are struggling with stress/mental health issues. They are also creating a peer support network.
    • Northeast Queer Farmers Alliance (email Ike at isaac.s.leslie@gmail.com): Organizes a listserv and mutual aid group for people who identify as LGBTQ+ and who have a connection with agriculture.
    • Vermont Health Connect: Helps Vermonters access health care 
    • Vermont Farm Bureau: Offers health insurance benefits to member farms. 
    • The Department of Children and Families: Provides assistance to families through a variety of programs, including Child Care Financial Assistance, 3SquaresVT, Utilities Support, and more.  

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    Veteran Farmers

    • Agribility: Provides training, employment and financial support resources for Veterans. 
    • Agrisafe Learning Lab: Has mental and physical health resources for veteran farmers including webinars, handouts, and more.  
    • Beginner Farmers Org: Has a training page for beginner famers that is specifically designed for military veterans. 
    • Homegrown by Heroes (802)-380-1014: Helps veterans become farmers and food leaders by providing educational resources, career services, financial support, and technical assistance.
    • Veterans to Farmers: Provides trainings to veterans in agricultural systems, technologies, and business operations. 

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    Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) Farmers

    • Vermont ReLeaf Collective: This Vermont-based membership network supports Black, Indigenous, and People of Color who are passionate about land, environment, agriculture, and foodways.  
    • Everytown Project: Aims to place at least one parcel of land in every town in Vermont permanently in trust for stewardship and access for BIPOC.  
    • Northeast Farmers of Color Land Trust: Advances land sovereignty and secures land tenure for Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian farmers and land stewards 
    • Soul Fire Farm: This BIPOC-centered farm in New York is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. 
    • SUSU commUNITY Farm: This stewarded and educational farm maintains land geared towards serving BIPOC.
    • VT Farm to Plate: Has compiled of resources for racial justice and equity within the Vermont and greater food system.  
    • Vermont Food System Plan Issue Brief: Racial Equity in the Vermont Food System: Provides opportunities and recommendations for working towards racial equity in Vermont agriculture and food systems.

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    Farmers with Disabilities

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    Women-Owned Farms

    • Women’s Agricultural Network: Offers educational, technical assistance, and networking opportunities, including a coaching program for women farmers and food system workers.  
    • Agrisafe: Has a page dedicated to providing resources for women farmers and their health and safety on and off the farm. 
    • Center for Women and Enterprise: Provides business training for women, including targeted programs for women-owned agriculture and forestry businesses

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    LGBTQ Farmers

    • Cultivating Change Foundation: Provides resources for LGBTQ+ agriculturalists through advocacy, education, and community.  
    • Northeast Queer Farmers Alliance (email Ike at isaac.s.leslie@gmail.com): This listserv and mutual aid group supports people who identify as LGBTQ+ and who have a connection with agriculture. 
    • Out In The Open: Connects rural LGBTQ people in Vermont. 
    • Queer Farmers Network: Hosts several resources for queer farmers in the United States.  
    • Queer Farmers Collective: Has an email list to stay up to date on events, skill shares, and additional content.  

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    Immigrant/Refugee Farmers

    • New Farms for New Americans: Is a community-based gardening and agriculture program from AALV that supports refugees and immigrants in Vermont.  

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    Get Connected and Stay Updated

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