Participants in a whole farm planning class.

Classes and Courses for Aspiring and Beginning Farmers

No matter what stage of planning or action your farm business is in, UVM Extension offers classes to support you in reaching your full potential. Following are courses offered by the New Farmer Project and other UVM Extension programs that are specifically designed to meet the needs of aspiring and beginning farmers. Check out our Calendar for a regional list of events -- from field days and workshops to classes and webinars -- that may be of interest to beginning farmers but do not necessarily specifically target beginning farmers.

Scholarship and Financial Aid information: Some individuals may be eligible for scholarships or financial aid through either the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation or the Vermont Farm Women's Fund.

Growing Places

For aspiring farmers and start-ups

Get your enterprise off to the right start. Participants define goals, explore and evaluate opportunities and resources, and become familiar with state and federal agriculture programs. Offered online and in person. More Growing Places course information.

Building a Sustainable Business

For start-ups to five years in business.

The Building a Sustainable Business course guides participants through developing a business plan for farm businesses. Most useful for people who have completed Growing Places and/or who have at least one year of production/financial records of their own. More Building a Sustainable Business course information.

Introduction to Ag Financial Management

For start-ups to five years in business.

Learn the basics of budgeting and skills to anticipate the financial needs of your operation. Participants will complete balance sheets, income statements and cash flow statements. More Introduction to Ag Financial Maangement course information.

Taking Stock

For people with five or more years in business.

Taking Stock addresses issues that tend to arise in businesses that have been up and running for awhile and could benefit from a progress check. More Taking Stock course information.

Whole Farm Planning for Women Farmers

For people with two to 10 years in business

Join other farming women for support and camaraderie learning about whole farm planning. Through funds from a USDA grant, beginning women farmers (those with 2-10 years running a farming business) in Vermont can learn more about whole farm planning in a program developed specifically for women. Topics for this ten session course include: Creating a Values-based Farm Mission; Whole Farm Decision Analysis Process; Increasing Farm Profitability (Gross Profit Analysis; Enterprise Analysis), Business Planning, Marketing, Soil Fertility, Time Management, Land and Infrastructure Planning, Leadership and Communication Skills, and Integrating Livestock on the Farm. Participants also work with a mentor throughout the course period. Limited to 15 participants chosen through an application process.

Additional Notice: We are recruiting 2-3 experienced farmers (those with 10 or more years of farm management experience) to serve as mentors for Whole Farm Planning course participants. If you or someone you know is interested in serving as a mentor, please fill out a mentor application or contact Jessie Schmidt for more information.