Apply to Farm Beginnings

NOFA-VT Farm Beginnings® is a year-long course designed for aspiring and beginning farmers.  Aspiring farmers (not yet in business) should have experience working on farms and a goal of starting their own farm business.  Beginning farmers should be in their first few years of running their own farm and be motivated to improve their business and production management skills.  This year’s Farm Beginnings cohort will start in late October 2020 (exact date TBA). Program made possible by generous support from Canaday Family Charitable Trust & NIFA.

Program Offerings 

  • 8 farm business planning online modules October through March*

  • On-farm workshops held during the growing season (in accordance with state guidance for in-person gatherings)

  • One-on-one mentorship from an experienced farmer

  • Course materials: printed copy and online access

  • Discounts on NOFA-VT educational offerings

  • Farm Business Plan template


How to Apply 

Applications for the 2020-2021 cohort are now closed. Please check back next fall for the next round of applications for the 2021 class. Contact Megan at 804-434, 4122 with any quesitons.

One additional person working on the same business plan, such as a business partner, a family member, or life partner, may take the course with you. Only one application per farm business is required. 

Application Timeline: Applications are reviewed in late September, and applicants will be notified of a decision by the first week of October. 

*Please note this is a competitive application process.  For every applicant that is not offered a spot in this year's Farm Beginnings cohort, we will put together specific recommendations for next steps and offer business coaching services to help them prepare to participate in a future cohort.

2020-2021 Farm Beginnings Online Modules (October - March)

Modules will be led by both Vermont farm service providers and include farmer presenters. The structure will include both lectures and interactive activities. Throughout the course of the program, participants will develop their own Farm Plan and have an opportunity to receive feedback.

Modules 1 & 2: Whole Farm Planning

Module 3: Land Access & Business Structure & Taxes

Module 4: Farm Financial Management & Record Keeping

Module 5: Enterprise Analysis & Budgeting

Module 6 & 7: Marketing

Module 8: Lean Farm Planning & Farm Plan Presentations

*Please note: Due to safety protocols related to COVID-19, all modules will be offered virtually for the 2020/2021 Program. Offerings will include video lectures, asynchronous assignments and activities, and abbreviated live-online learning sessions on a selection of Sundays. NOFA-VT will work with all participants to ensure that access to reliable internet is not a barrier to participation. We are committed to providing the full educational value of the program through this adapted format, including opportunities to connect with other farmers in your cohort, Farm Service Providers and established farmers in Vermont. Full details on course structure will be posted in September.


Program Cost

$500 per farm 

Tuition payments: Tuition is due in full by October 13th. We can also work with you to create a payment plan that meets your financial needs.  Email [email protected] for more information. 

Refund Policy: If you are unable to attend Farm Beginnings, refunds are available until the day before the first class. After the first class, refunds are not available, except under extenuating circumstances. 

Scholarships: A limited number of scholarships are available for the 2020 NOFA-VT Farm Beginnings cohort. Scholarships will be awarded based on financial need and demonstrated commitment to developing as a farm manager. In addition, NOFA-VT will provide a full scholarship to anyone who identifies as BIPOC. We can also work with participants to create a payment plan that meets your financial needs.  Email [email protected] for more information on scholarships, or apply below. 


Per Class Registration: Registration for individual classes is available to past Journey Farmers and past Farm Beginnings participants. Each module costs $25 for NOFA-VT members and $30 for non-members.  To register for an individual module, please email [email protected]