Operators who are new, or have been in business less than 10 years, often have specific needs that require a unique set of resources. We have gathered this list of the most useful resrouces here to get you started, and we hope you will Contact Us so we can help as you work on and improve your operation.


Start learning from other farmers immediately

Farmer Explaining his Fencing System to Visitors

As soon as you know you want to raise livestock, the first step is to learn what's possible, what's working on Vermont farms (and what isn't) by connecting with other farmers. This is the right time to start attending pasture walks, workshops, conferences, and any other learning opportunity you can find. By seeing and hearing from those who are at different stages of developing their operations, you can get your own farm started in the ways most likely to work for your own goals.

Opportunities for learning from other farmers:

Business Planning

sheep grazing

Describe your Goals and the Current State of the Farm: Document your goals & priorities, in clear and quantifiable terms. Then describe the current state of the farm by attempting to capture this moment in time​; Find other business planning resoures below:

Holistic Management International: To envision and realize healthy, resilient lands and thriving communities by serving people in the practice of Holistic Decision Making & Management

Intervale Business Planning Services: offers information, assistance, and encouragement to beginning and aspiring farmers in the state of Vermont through one-on-one coaching and business planning. Coaching sessions last from one to two hours; at the end, you’ll come away with a learning plan that includes prioritized learning areas, objectives, and steps to reach those objectives.


Introductory Readings


The following books are great resources for those needing an overview and introduction to livestock and grazing:

  • The Art and Science of Grazing book by Sarah Flack offers a great overview of grazing and information for grazing in VT’s climate & topography
  • Sheep Care Guide: Covers information on stress and well-being criteria, facilities & handling, transportation, managing predation, nutrition, flock health program, shearing, hoof trimming, lambing & care of the lamb and ewe, exhibition practices, harvest practices, and additional resources.
  • Carol Delaney’s A Guide to Starting a Commercial Goat Dairy: is an excellent overview and reference guide for all aspects of goat dairy enterprises

Interested in knowing more about Extension’s Grazing and Livestock work, or do you have a question we haven't answered here? Contact Us and we'll do our best to help.