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Farm First: Resources & Support for Farmers

Farm First is an important assistance program for Vermont farmers

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Farm First: Free Resources & Support for Farmers

Farm First is a free and confidential service for Vermont farmers and their family members, providing help with personal or work-related issues that cause stress. We will connect you to resources that can help your farm to thrive, and to counselors and other folks in your farming community who can help you find tools to deal with the uncertainty and frustrations that are a part of farming. 

What Happens When I Call Farm First?

We will consult with you and take the time to understand your situation. We’ll help you to explore your options including the free services that we provide.  With our help you can make a plan and we will support you in carrying it out. Here are three important ways that Farm First can help: 

  • Resource Coordination: Farm First can provide information and connect you with a wide range of services at the local, state and national level who can help with many types of issues. For example, we connect farmers to resources that provide funding opportunities, technical assistance, educational services, business and succession planning, and figuring out how to keep the farm going after an injury or illness.
  • The Peer Farmer Network: Farm First has a diverse and growing team of farmers across Vermont who provide confidential support to our state’s agricultural community. Peer Farmers know what it’s like to work on the land—the good, the bad, and the ugly—and there are many tools and resources that they are eager to share with you. They can find a time to talk to you at the time of day or evening that works best for your busy farm schedule. Once you connect with a Peer Farmer, you’ll always have someone trustworthy to listen to you and offer support when you need it.
  • Free Short-Term Counseling: Farm First works with a team of licensed and accredited counselors who have specific experience working with farmers. You can receive up to 12 free sessions to tackle problems that are creating stress in your work or personal life. We can also work to match you with affordable options for longer term counseling as needed. 

 How to Get in Touch with Farm First

There are several ways to connect with Farm First support:

  • Call our main number at 802-318-5538 (during business hours)
  • email to reach the resource coordinator, or
  • Visit; click “Get Our Help” and follow the instructions. 

Often someone will answer right away, but if you leave a message, we will do our best to get back to you within one business day

If you need to speak with someone urgently, you can call our 24/7 number at 1-877-493-6216. (If it is a true emergency, always call 911).  

More information

In Vermont, many workplaces provide a benefit to their employees known as an employee assistance program, which can help employees to solve stressful problems whether they be personal, legal, or a need for financial assistance. Farm First is designed to provide a similar free service to Vermont farmers and their families. 

Farm First is a public, not-for-profit program jointly sponsored by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets, and the Vermont Agency of Human Services' InvestEAP Centers for Wellbeing.