Congratulations to the 38 farm and forest businesses receiving advising services and nearly $900,000 in funding to support long-term viability and improve water quality from the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program.
As a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program enhances the economic viability of Vermont farms and forestry enterprises by offering business advising, including succession planning, to eligible farmers, agriculturally-related businesses, forest products enterprises, and forest landowners. These services are carried out by a robust network of advisors, in which Land For Good is proud to be a part. The Viability Program service provider network includes Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Intervale Center, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT), UVM Extension Services, and Land For Good.
Our work with the Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program is essential. It allows us to provide long-term comprehensive support to Vermont farmers working through farm transfer and succession issues, ” shares Mike Ghia, Land For Good’s Vermont Field Agent.
To further support this mission, the Viability Program also makes grants available on a competitive basis. This year, 22 farmers were awarded over $755,000 to invest in on-farm capital improvements that enhance water quality. Additionally, 16 farm and forest businesses were awarded over $142,000 to complete projects that support business development and viability. We’re proud to be part of a robust network of advisors making an impact for farmers in Vermont.
Read more about the 2023 grants in the following press release from VHCB and learn how the grant will help Colton Cummings and Dani Babbitt of Hunger Moon Farm in Enosburg Falls, VT expand their organic pastured poultry and egg operation.
Press Release: Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program awards nearly $900,000 to 38 businesses
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program, a program of the Vermont Housing & Conservation Board (VHCB), announces its 2023 grant awards to working lands entrepreneurs, totaling $897,607.09 to support businesses improvements and improve water quality.
This year, 22 farmers were awarded $755,041.50 to invest in on-farm capital improvements that enhance water quality. Additionally, 16 farm and forest businesses were awarded $142,559.59 to complete projects that support business development and viability.
Colton Cummings and Dani Babbitt operate Hunger Moon Farm in Enosburg Falls, an organic pastured poultry, egg, and goat meat business, which they started in 2018. In 2022, they enrolled in the VT Farm & Forest Viability Program to develop a long-term business plan.
“Working with [the Farm & Forest Viability Program] has made us feel comfortable and confident in our business moving forward.” says Colton.
In 2023, Colton and Dani applied for a grant from the Program to implement their business plan, and received $10,000 towards winter housing to expand their laying flock. With their award, they will build a hoop house that can comfortably fit both of the mobile chicken coops they purchased with an FSA loan. This expansion will allow them to make use of their second mobile coop and double the size of their laying flock to 1,300 hens.
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Water Quality Grants are funded by the State of Vermont through Vermont’s Capital Construction and State Bonding Act. This year, $600,000 in Water Quality funds were provided by State of Vermont General Funds through the American Rescue Plan Act, and over $155,000 was funded through Vermont’s Capital Construction and State Bonding Act. Since 2017, the program has awarded more than $4.4 million in Water Quality Grants. In 2023, awards were made to 22 farms in Orleans, Lamoille, Rutland, Addison, Caledonia, Grand Isle, Franklin, and Washington counties. Grants were awarded to both organic and conventional farms, and include cow dairies, a goat dairy, and a custom operator.
These projects will improve manure management and soil health, reduce runoff, minimize feed imports into Vermont, and ultimately support the long-term success of farm enterprises.
The Vermont Farm & Forest Viability Program’s Implementation Grants help recent program clients implement aspects of their business plan and improve long-term viability. The program provides farm, food, and forest businesses with business coaching, transition planning, and technical assistance through a network of service provider organizations, including the Center for an Agricultural Economy, the Intervale Center, Land For Good, the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT), and UVM Extension Services. This year, $142,559.59 were awarded to 16 businesses in Orange, Lamoille, Rutland, Bennington, Orleans, Franklin, Chittenden, Addison and Windham counties. Grantees represent a variety of working lands businesses in Vermont including livestock, dairy, and diversified produce farms, food processors, and forest products businesses.
Check out the full list of awardees published in VermontBiz magazine.