University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

4-H & Youth

First Class of Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account Program to Graduate August 15

Young farmers have spent a year saving money, building business plans and entrepreneurship skills, and learning from farm business management specialists and established farmers

Participants of the Youth Ag IDA Program.

Burlington, VT – Dairy farmers, beekeepers, a maple sugaring operations: these might be seen as classic Vermont farm businesses. But there’s a twist: these are the operations being developed by members of a group of 15 young farmers who have spent a year learning what they need to survive and thrive in today’s complicated food economy.

After a successful first round, the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture’s Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account (Youth Ag IDA) program is proud to announce the first graduation ceremony, on August 15th, at the UVM Miller Research Center, from 5- 7pm. The public is warmly welcome to celebrate the 15 graduates’ achievements, and to join us for light refreshments.

The Youth Ag IDA program provided structured financial literacy training, business management coaching and mentoring from qualified farm business management specialists and established farmers. Our participants took part in a year-long set of fun, informative, hands-on learning experiences. They also completed approximately ten hours of online coursework, completed a business plan, and saved money. Upon successful completion of the program, up to $500 of the participant's savings were matched at a rate of 2:1 (up to a total of $1,000 in match funding!), giving young farmers two program dollars for every dollar they save toward the purchase of a productive farm asset. This means that the young farmer participants had $1,500 to use for an asset purchase.

Participants developed basic skills necessary to become successful entrepreneurs, learning to leverage equity and manage capital productively. Even more importantly, participants are leaving the program armed with increased confidence, their business plans and the skills that can help them put that plan into successful action as they join Vermont’s vibrant agriculture and food systems community.

Graduates include Daniel Brassard of East Randolph, Linnea Burnham of Fairlee, Henry Cammack of Burlington, Rebecca Frye of Chelsea, Ethan Gevry of Addison, David Gringeri of West Haven, Katherine Ham of Sheffield, Kaleigh Hamel of Waitsfield, Austin Jenks of East Burke, Jacob Kellner of Bakersfield, Jonathan Killian of Montpelier, Greg Moore of Danville, Aliza Pickering of Arlington, Siri Swanson of Orwell, and Jacob Walker of Morrisville.

UVM Miller Research Center, 500 Spear St., S. Burlington, VT

Date & Time:
Friday, August 15, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Free, with donations to support the Youth Ag IDA program welcome.

Cheryl Herrick, 802-656-5459,

Guests requiring a disability-related accommodation to participate should contact Cheryl Herrick at or 802-656-5459 by August 10 so we may provide assistance.

Established in 1994, the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture provides timely information to Vermont communities
and the UVM campus. The Center cultivates partnerships, supports innovative research and practices, and informs
policy to advance sustainable food and farming systems. Learn more at