Vermont farmers who own or lease farmland are eligible to apply. Applicants should also have at least 3 years prior farm experience and $10,000 or more of gross farm income in the previous year. These criteria may be waived in special cases. The Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program offers business planning and technical assistance to Vermont farmers. Services are provided free of charge, following a $75 enrollment fee.
Farmers enrolled in the Program work with a farm business planner provided through cooperating organizations, listed below, or directly with an individual consultant. Our staff works with enrolled farmers to identify a good match for the farm. The consultants provide technical assistance tailored to the farmer’s needs to fulfill specific business goals. Farmers and planning consultants meet and work together for approximately one year to produce a written business plan. In the second year farmers are provided with additional technical assistance and help updating their plans.
The business planning process involves the farmer in an assessment of the farm operation’s strengths and weaknesses and in an exploration of possible management changes that could increase profitability. Examples include consultations on keeping better production or financial records, financial benchmark analysis, meetings with crop or animal health specialists, new farm enterprise analysis, estate and farm transfer planning, labor management, and value-added processing.
Farmers who have completed business plans with the program are eligible for grants towards capital expenses or additional technical support needed in implementing the business plan, when funding is available.
See the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program website for more information. With specific questions call Liz Gleason at 828-3370.