NOFA Journey Farmer Program

The Journey Farmer Program is a two-year program for beginning farmers who are in the first few years of running their own farming enterprise in Vermont. The program is largely shaped by the farming interests and goals of the Journey Farmers, and enables aspiring new farmers to advance their farming skills and experiences, along with being a part of a learning community of other aspiring farmers and farmer mentors. What follows is a list of services and opportunities available to Journey Farmers.

Program offerings:

  • Farmer-to-farmer mentoring
  • A $500 educational stipend
  • Free admission to NOFA-VT Summer Workshop Series
  • Free admission to NOFA-VT Winter Conference
  • Business planning support
  • Access to technical assistance by NOFA-VT staff
  • Journey Farmer Network

Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring

Each Journey Farmer participant will be matched with a farmer mentor. Farmer mentors are paid to provide up to 25 hours of mentoring throughout the year. Farmer mentors provide practical detailed knowledge that can help with a range of farming related topics.

Technical Assistance

NOFA-VT crop and livestock advisors are available to provide additional technical assistance as needed to address other production and business issues.

NOFA-VT Events

Journey Farmers receive free admission to a number of educational events including workshops and field days that are part of NOFA-VT’s Summer Workshop Series along with free admission to the NOFA-VT Winter Conference.

Business Planning Support

NOFA-VT will work with Journey Farmers to create programming to best meet their business planning needs.

Educational Stipend

Journey Farmer participants will receive an educational stipend of $500 for pre-approved farm related courses, books, videos, computer software or travel.

Journey Farmer Network

In addition to all these program offerings, Journey Farmers also become part of a supportive network made up of other beginning farmers and farmer mentors by participating in special gatherings, educational offerings, and other community events.

 


Expectations: NOFA-VT expects all Journey Farmers to enter into an agreement outlining their goals and objectives for the program; which includes participation in educational events and trainings, regular mentor meetings and completion of a farm plan.

Qualifications: Prospective Journey Farmers should be competent in a range of agricultural skills, have a solid commitment to farming in Vermont, and have reasonably clear and realistic plans for their future farming activities. The Journey Farmer Program is targeted towards farmers in the first few years of running their own farming enterprise.

Applying: NOFA-VT reviews Journey Farmer applications once a year in December, and applicants are notified of a decision by mid-January. Couples and/or business partners should submit a joint application.

The Journey Farmer Program was started in 2011 with funding from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture Agricultural Innovation Center, and is currently supported by the USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program.


If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Fussell, Education Coordinator, at rachel@nofavt.org or 802-434-4122.