Building Capacity to Support Diverse and New Farming Audiences in Vermont

Project Overview

Project Type: PDP State Program
Funds awarded in 2021: $150,333.00
Projected End Date: 09/30/2024
Grant Recipient: UVM Extension - New Farmer Project & Women's Agricultural Network
Region: Northeast
State: Vermont
State Coordinator:
Beth Holtzman
UVM Extension - New Farmer Project & Women's Agricultural Network

Information Products


Not commodity specific


  • Education and Training: extension, networking
  • Farm Business Management: farm succession, land access, other
  • Sustainable Communities: analysis of personal/family life, ethnic differences/cultural and demographic change, new business opportunities, other, partnerships, quality of life

    Proposal abstract:

    Problem and Justification: Agricultural service providers (ASPs) who work for UVM Extension and partnering NGO organizations and state and federal agencies currently provide a broad range education and technical assistance that contributes to the environmental, economic and social sustainability goals of the SARE outcome statement. However, agricultural service providers report gaps in their prior training and in the information resources currently available to them that limit their ability to address emerging needs in three interrelated topic areas that have significant implications for sustainability. These topic areas are: information resources and referrals for beginning farmers; assisting established farmers with farm business succession and transfer planning; and incorporating strategies to address social justice in their programming for farmers, farm workers and farm businesses.

    Solution and Approach: This project will update and revise outdated beginning farmer resources, create new information products and tools, and engage 24 Vermont agricultural service providers in learning opportunities that build their capacity to deliver effective beginning farmer and farm transfer programming for more diverse farmer audiences. UVM Extension has a large collection of beginning farmer resources. However, many of these materials are now 10+ years old. We will update and revise them to reflect current conditions and laws and regulations. We will also create new tools and resources and offer professional development opportunities to help ASPs who specialize in production, marketing and food safety topics provide basic farm transfer information and appropriate referrals to more specialized service providers and consultants. Finally, the project will deliver a variety of diversity, equity and inclusion learning opportunities for agricultural educators and service providers from Extension, NGOs and government agencies to help them provide more inclusive, accessible and effective services to more diverse farmer audiences.


    Performance targets from proposal:

    24 agricultural service providers (ASPs) participate in facilitated on-line and in-person education that builds confidence and capacity to deliver effective beginning farmer and farm transfer programming for both their current and historically under-served and marginalized farmer audiences. Small-group engagement with consulting topic experts, peer group discussions, and interactions with farmer-educators will support ASPs as they integrate new understanding and skills into their programming. By the project’s conclusion, 20 ASPs incorporate new information and approaches into group education and individual coaching and technical assistance with work with 300 aspiring and beginning farmers, farm employees and established farm operators.

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.