Farmer-to-Farmer Organic Mentorship

A person stands behind a farm stand counter next to a sign showing the organic seal.

NOFA-VT and Vermont Organic Farmers, the organic certifying agency owned by NOFA-VT, are proud to be Core Partners in USDA's Mid-Atlantic/Northeast Regional Transition to Organic Partnership Program (TOPP)

Farmer-to-farmer professional development has always been a core tenant of the organic movement. If you're a long-time organic farmer with experience to share or you're just starting to consider implementing organic practices, we can connect you with a mentor/ee!

Jump to:

Information for Mentee Farmers

Information for Mentor Farmers

Information for Becoming a TOPP Core Partner Organization

Mentee Farmers

If you are looking to transition your production with an end goal of becoming certified organic, sign up to be paired with a mentor! An experienced organic farmer can offer guidance and serve as a resource during your transition to organic.

Learn more about what it means to become certified organic in this short video from Nicole Dehne, Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) Certification Director.


Apply for Farm Mentorship

Mentor Farmers

Do you have experiences organic farming? You can be an invaluable resource for folks considering transitioning to organic production!

Your are eligible to be a mentor farmer if you have operated certified organic farms for at least three years and are interested in working with transitioning farmers as they change to organic practices.


(to be completed in person or virtually)

  • Mentor at least one producer transitioning to organic for one year, with an option to renew mentorship annually
  • Complete 5 hours of mentor training annually
  • Provide 40 hours of mentorship each year (optional additional hours with additional mentees), including:
    • Complete onboarding with mentee and mentorship coordinator
    • Host mentee at least once on your own operation
    • Visit mentee’s operation at least once
    • Lead monthly meetings with mentee
    • Participate in program evaluations
    • Complete quarterly check-ins with the mentorship coordinator
    • Answer mentee’s emails and phone calls in a timely manner
    • Track mentorship hours and activities
  • Recommended to attend at least one educational event with mentee
  • Suggested to present at or host an educational event
  • Must have owned, managed, or worked at a certified organic operation with at least 3 years of direct experience with organic certification
  • Ability to fulfill the time commitment of mentorship including communication, site visits (virtual or in person), and researching solutions
  • Willingness to engage in problem solving, and a desire to give-back to the organic production community
  • Strong understanding of the rules, challenges, and benefits of organic production and becoming certified organic
  • Open to inviting mentee and other program participants to your operation either in person or virtually
    • Preferred experience in a teaching, supervising, or mentor role (but not required)
  • $3,000 stipend for each mentorship year you participate (additional stipend for mentors with more than one mentee)
  • Applicants with language skills beyond English may be eligible for additional compensation
  • Paid professional development on professional and interpersonal skills, organic regulations, and organic production practices
  • Develop teaching and facilitation skills
  • Take part in supporting the growing network of organic producers!
Mentorship Resources

Partner Organizations

Partner organizations work with and grow the movement to help farms transition to organic production. If your organization has technical expertise, you can help provide guidance on specific topics or skills to farmers who are transitioning to organic methods. Compensation is available for partnering organizations.

TOPP program partners work together to support the needs of transitioning farmers by:

  • Connecting transitioning farmers with farmer mentors
  • Creating accessible technical assistance resources
  • Hosting community building opportunities
  • Using education and training to support the organic workforce
  • Helping producers overcome challenges during and after organic certification
  • Promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organic sector


Submit Interest in Joining Partnership