University of Vermont

Cultivating Healthy Communities

Training and Savings Program for Vermont’s Next Generation of Farmers Accepting Applications

Deadline May 15

Young Farmer Taking Field Notes
Young Farmer Taking Field Notes

Burlington--The Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account (IDA) Program, a collaboration of University of Vermont (UVM) Extension 4-H and the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture, has extended its deadline to May 15 for applications for its next program cycle.

The free one-year program helps young farmers, ages 14 to 21, acquire the necessary financial skills and business assets to operate their own agricultural business. In addition, it provides a 2-to-1 match of their savings, up to $1,000 in match funding, for the purchase of a business-related item when they complete an approved business plan.

The next cycle begins in late June. Applications may be obtained at any UVM Extension office or online at http://go.uvm.edu/youth-ag-ida.

In addition to age eligibility, applicants must have one or more years of experience managing their own income from any size farm or food business. School credit is available.

Successful applicants will work with a mentor and farm business management experts to write a business plan and learn about the financial side of operating an agricultural enterprise. Throughout the year they also will participate in workshops, network with established farmers and receive other aid relevant to their operation.

Previous IDA graduates are currently operating enterprises in maple, dairy, sheep, vegetables, and more. They used their savings plus match funds to buy items such as a hay baler, breeding ewes, barn restoration services, and a waterwheel planter.

For more information, contact Liz Kenton, IDA Program coordinator, at ekenton@uvm.edu or (802) 257-6967, ext. 308. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, contact her no later than May 15.

The Youth Ag. IDA program was established in 2012 with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of USDA-NIFA, grant #2011-49400-30589, and several generous local supporting businesses and families.  It is the only agricultural IDA program in the country that focuses on youth.

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 http://www.uvm.edu/~susagctr/.