Farm Business Planning

Footprint Farm Crop Planning Cash Flow Analysis and Business Planning are available to farmers in Vermont through the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program. The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board (VHCB), in collaboration with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture developed the program to help farms in Vermont increase their profitability. All of the information is listed on the VHCB web-site under Farm Viability. NOFA-VT is a technical service provider of the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program, as are the Intervale Foundation, University of Vermont Extension, and Working Landscapes. As a provider, NOFA-VT is able to offer on-farm technical assistance in production and business planning to organic and transitioning vegetable, grain, dairy and livestock farms in Vermont.

Minimum eligibility requirements of the Farm Viability Enhancement Program:

  • Are you a year-round Vermont resident?
  • Do you own or rent (by written lease) at least one parcel of Vermont farmland?
  • Do you have at least 3 years experience managing or working on a farm?
  • Did your farm produce at least $10,000 of gross farm income in the most recent tax year?
  • In the next 12 months do you again plan to engage in the business of farming on this land?

If you answered “Yes” to all of the above you are eligible to receive services from the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program. In some cases, these criteria may be waived. There is no fee required for the technical assistance, although farmers are required to commit time to the process. To apply download the Farm Viability Application.

NOFA-VT targets our technical assistance to the following target group of farms:

  • Conventional dairy farmers transitioning to organic production
  • Organic dairy farmers who want to increase the viability of their operations
  • Organic and transitioning fruit and vegetable producers
  • Farmers interested in commercial organic seed production
  • Producers of organic agronomic crops (grain producers and marketers, oil seed crops, forage for organic livestock)
  • Organic and transitioning livestock producers
  • Farmers interested in integrating alternative energy or energy efficiency systems on their farm
  • Farmers interested in developing a value-added product on-farm or at a small scale, for local or regional marketing.

Testimonials

The NOFA-VT technical assistance provider was the catalyst for us to do some important business planning for our farm. Having an experienced set of eyes is really valuable – there are things you miss when you are in the thick of it. Just having an outside voice and eyes to view a farm operation can be the motivation for incredible internal change that drastically changes the bottom line for the better. Farming from the neck up, and sharpen your saw are important concepts that often get overlooked in the hectic pace of everyday farming. What the program really did was to get us to believe in our abilities as growers, and to have faith in ourselves and our land.
- Organic vegetable farmer participant in the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program

The most helpful service NOFA-VT provided was when the farm advisor came over and sat down with us for a series of work periods where he showed us how to do a year of financial planning and cash flow projections. An example of how that helped us is where he showed us that in order for us to meet our bills and have a little money left over for family living expenses, our herd of 40 cows must achieve and maintain an average of 50 lbs of milk production per cow per day. He also helped us realize what our short and long-term goals are and what it will take to get there. With this help, we were not only able to realize where we want to be and what it will take to get there, but we can move forward with confidence. Without your help, I don’t know if I would be farming today. But thanks to you, we are farming and things are going well. I can say with confidence that not only is NOFA-VT badly needed by farmers like myself making the transition to organic farming, but NOFA-VT and organic farming are absolutely essential to the survival of the small family farm.
- Organic dairy farmer participant in the Vermont Farm Viability Enhancement Program