What’s Growin’ On Blog has Moved

RAFFL recently updated our website and moved the farmer blog. Update your bookmarks to the new page!

Check out the new blog here.


RAFFL staff


Youth Ag IDA Program

Application Deadline – Friday, May 15th!  Program starts in June!

The Youth Ag. IDA program is for youth ages 14-21 who are seeking to build a sustainable career in agriculture.  It’s built around a year of hands-on instruction, business coaching, and learning from established farmers – all while saving money towards a business asset purchase that will be matched 2:1.

What does this look like?

  • Participants attend a year (approximately 10-20 hours- depending on preference) of fun, informative, hands-on learning experiences (these classes have an estimated $1,500 value)
  • Participants complete approximately ten hours of online coursework
  • Participants complete a business plan
  • Each young farmer saves $500
  • The program matches the young farmer’s savings with $1,000
  • The young farmer participant will then have that $1,500 to use for an asset purchase

The program brochure is here. (This has a printable brochure and registration form for folks who prefer paper) & Online registration is here.

Please email Program Coordinator Liz Kenton with questions: ekenton@uvm.edu.

Farm Employment Resources

At this time of year, the search for farm help is in full swing.  Here are a couple of resources with information about all things hiring-related.

For fact sheets from the USDA and NOFA-VT and a webinar about the legal distinctions between interns and employees, visit the UVM New Farmer page – http://www.uvm.edu/newfarmer/?Page=business/labor.html&SM=business/sub-menu.html

For a Farm Commons webinar entitled “Making Employment Law Work for Your Farm” (scheduled for 2/3/15 but recordings of all webinars are available on their website) – http://farmcommons.org/making-employment-law-work-your-farm




Variety Selection for Storage & Winter Crops: Farmer-to-Farmer Discussion 12/14

Join RAFFL for the first farmer-to-farmer discussion of the winter!!

Sunday, December 14 from 3:00 – 5:00

Location: Lihigh School, Poultney

Facilitator: Becky Maden

Description:  With limits on both storage and hoophouse space, varietal selection decisions for storage and winter crops tend to be more critical choices than a summer lettuce variety selection (though that is definitely important!).  Becky Maden recently moved to Singing Cedars Farm after spending 10 years co-managing Intervale Community Farm in Burlington where she produced a wide variety of storage and winter crops.  Join the discussion, share your experiences with your rockstar varieties and those that you now actively avoid, and get some ideas for your upcoming seed order!

NE SARE Farmer Grants – Applications Due 12/2/14

Farmer Grants are for commercial producers in the Northeast Region who have an innovative idea they want to test using a field trial, on-farm demonstration, marketing initiative, or other technique.  A technical advisor–often an extension agent, crop consultant, or other service professional–must also be involved. Projects should seek results other farmers can use, and all projects must have the potential to add to our knowledge about effective sustainable practices.  Awards are capped at $15,000.

Applications are due by December 2, 2014.

Northeast SARE grants coordinator Carol Delaney will be hosting at lunchtime webinar on Friday, October 10th at noon to provide information about the application process, designing a budget, choosing a technical advisor, and the review process.  There will be plenty of time for Q & A.   Register for the webinar here.  (If you have questions about registration or the presentation, please contact NY SARE Coordinator Violet Stone at vws7@cornell.edu.)

Vermont Farm Fund Loans Available for Your Off-Season Projects

If you are planning an off-season project that will require a loan, the Vermont Farm Fund has money available for loans.  Business Builder Loans are made to Vermont Farmers and Food Producers who meet their criteria with interest rates at 3% per year.  Loans can range from $5000 to $25,000, depending on qualification and fund availability, repayable in 2 to 4 years.  The application process is simple and turnaround from application to funding is two to three weeks.  Learn more about the Vermont Farm Fund at www.VermontFarmFund.org.

RAFFL’s New Farmer Support Services are Back!

Recently, Jen Miller joined RAFFL’s staff as the new farmer program coordinator!  Previously, Jen worked on and managed farms for seven seasons, one of which was her own business, and completed a master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics, focusing on agricultural conservation programs.  At RAFFL she will focus on supporting and guiding new and aspiring farmers in the region.  RAFFL can now offer financial coaching, production technical assistance, business planning, and marketing coaching to farmers at various stages of business development.

If you have a question at any point during the season, want to use these services more intensively in the off-season, or are just interested in finding out more about the services available, contact Jen at jen@rutlandfarmandfood.org or 417-7096.