Journey Farmer

The Journey Farmer Program is a year-long program for farmers who are in the first few years of running their own farm business in Vermont. The program is largely shaped by the farming interests and goals of the Journey Farmers, and enables new farmers to advance their farming skills and experiences while being a part of a cohort learning community of other beginning farmers and farmer mentors.

This program is built to be a “next-step” for graduates of the NOFA-VT Farm Beginnings program. Other beginning farmers with similar skills and experience are also encouraged to apply. The program is built for participants who are actively farming and selling products, and have a foundation of basic farm financials and record keeping. See more information on qualifications below.

The time commitment is roughly one meeting each month from November through March that includes farmer presenters as well as working sessions and relationship building with fellow participants. These are a mix of virtual and in-person sessions. During the growing season participants work with a farmer mentor and receive one farm visit from a NOFA-VT business advisor. The program wraps up the following fall with a closing session to reflect on the previous season and set goals for the future. More details on program offerings and schedule are below.

Applications will open in mid-August for the 2024/2025 cohort! Contact Megan Browning at 802-434-7184 or [email protected] with any questions or to express interest in applying in the future. 



Program Objectives

  • Identify your farm, business, and quality of life goals over the next 3-5 years
  • Create an implementation plan to support you in meeting your goals 
  • Refine your approach to business and financial planning
  • Further develop your marketing plans and your systems for implementing the plan
  • Build relationships with a cohort of beginnings farmers at similar stages of business development
Program Details
Program Offerings

Cohort learning experiences and support network: At its core, the Journey Farmer program is designed to build an intimate cohort of beginning farmers who can learn alongside and from each other. Space will be made for relationship building among program participants all in similar stages of farm business development.

Farmer-to-Farmer Mentoring: Each Journey Farmer participant will be matched with a farmer mentor of your choice. Farmer mentors are paid to provide up to $500 of their time throughout the year. Farmer mentors provide overall farm business support in addition to practical detailed knowledge that can help with a range of farming-related topics. 

Advanced Business Planning Courses: 2-3 courses will be offered throughout the year on topic areas shaped by the interests and learning objectives of each Journey Farmer cohort. Journey Farmers are expected to attend all courses. Past examples of courses include soil health management, marketing, and LEAN farming techniques.

Farm Visits: Farm visits will be opportunities to tour fellow Journey Farmer’s farms, ask questions, and offer feedback. NOFA-VT Farmer Services staff will attend farm visits to offer guidance, support, and feedback. Journey Farmers are expected to participate in 2-3 regional farm visits during the growing season. 

Educational Stipend: Journey Farmer participants will receive an educational stipend of $250 for pre-approved farm related courses, consultants, books, videos, computer software or travel. Option to use these funds for one-on-one marketing or financial consultation. 

NOFA-VT Educational Events: Journey Farmers receive free admission to NOFA-VT educational events including workshops and field days in NOFA-VT’s Summer & Fall Workshop Series, and the NOFA-VT Winter Conference. Journey Farmers can also attend individual classes in NOFA-VT's Farm Beginnings program for $25.   

Business Planning Support & Technical Assistance: NOFA-VT Farmer Services staff are available to provide additional business planning services and production technical assistance as needed.


November: Journey Farmer Program starts with a kick-off gathering to introduce the program, set goals for the coming season, and connect with others in the cohort. The session will also include a presentation on an advanced business planning topic. This session may be virtual or in-person - details TBA. 

December – March: The Journey Farmer Cohort will meet monthly the winter for additional advanced business planning classes that include farmer presenters as well as work time for winter planning. The class content will be based on the needs and interests of the Journey Farmer cohort. Participants will also start working with a farmer mentor starting in January. Winter Conference registration is provided at no cost to participants.

June – October: Journey Farmers continue working with their mentor throughout the growing season. Additionally, each participant will have a farm visit with a NOFA-VT Business Advisor to ask questions, receive feedback and build relationship with NOFA-VT and the Farmer Services offerings.

 November: Wrap session provides an opportunity to reflect on the previous season and set goals for the future.


The Journey Farmer Program is targeted toward farmers in the first few years of running their own business. Prospective Journey Farmers should have a range of agricultural skills, a commitment to farming in Vermont, and clear and realistic plans for their future farming activities. Journey Farmers will be graduates of the NOFA-VT Farm Beginnings class, have completed similar coursework through another organization, or developed comparable skills through their farming experience. 

If you have graduated from another Farm Beginnings program or have two or more years of experience managing your current farm business, please get in touch with Megan on the Farmer Services Team at [email protected] or 802-434-7184 to discuss whether the Journey Farmer Program is a good fit for you

Application Instructions

The Journey Farmer Program year begins in November. Journey Farmer applications are reviewed once a year in late September. Applicants are notified of a decision by early October. For applicants who have not completed Farm Beginnings, an interview may be part of the application process. Couples and/or business partners should submit a joint application.

Apply for Journey Farmer


As members of a cohort learning group, Journey Farmers are expected to commit to participating in all aspects of the program. At the start of the Journey Farmer program year, participants will begin by outlining their goals for the program, completing a personal assessment on their areas of improvement, and developing a list of potential mentors. NOFA-VT will use input from program enrollment and participant goal mapping to develop desired learning opportunities and coursework.