Farm First is a free, Vermont-based program providing farmers and their families with support, resources and information to reduce stress. We can help connect you to resources, including technical, legal or financial assistance, as well as to a counselor or trained peer. You don't have to be alone with your challenges. We're good listeners and can help you address the challenges you face. We're here to help.

Farm First News

rows of crops

Vermont Produce Safety Improvement Grants Now Accepting Applications

$5K to $20K grants support the costs of implementing on-farm food safety practices

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is now accepting applications for the Vermont Produce Improvement Grant program. Produce Safety Improvement Grants (PSIG) can support the costs of implementing on-farm food safety practices to help vegetable and fruit growers transition to compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, address compliance with new Produce Safety Rule harvest and post-harvest water requirements, or meet market demands for on-farm food safety.

Awards will range from $5,000 to $20,000. PSIG funds can be used for any of the following, but are not limited to: harvest, wash, pack, and storage supplies; wash/pack area construction or renovation; monitoring/control devices; handwashing stations; cleaning/sanitization tools; health and hygiene signage; compost/manure handling improvements; and materials and systems to improve training and record-keeping. Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the federal FSMA Produce Safety Rule and have average annual produce sales of greater than $29,245 over the past three years.1

How to Apply

Visit to review eligibility requirements, including enrollment in the Vermont Produce Portal, and to download the 2023 PSIG Request for Applications (RFA).
Create an account on WebGrants at and start a 2023 Vermont Produce Safety Improvement Grant application.
Applications will close Sunday, April 9, 2023 at 11:59 pm.

The Produce Safety Improvement Grant program has offered four previous rounds of funding, awarding over $250,000 in grants since 2018. PSIG grantees have seen broad, positive impacts on their farms as a result of completing produce safety projects, such as increased efficiency, worker satisfaction, produce quality, or production capacity. Approximately $100,000, allocated by the Vermont State Legislature, is available for this round of grants. Farms who have previously received a Produce Safety Improvement Grant are eligible to apply.
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Young Adult Apprenticeships for Summer 2023

The Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund provides monthlong paid apprenticeships for young adults to live on sustainable farms — to work, learn, and be inspired to create change in their communities. March 15th application deadline.


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dairy processing

$13 million in grants available for dairy processing

The Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center (NE-DBIC) announces two grants for dairy processors, totaling a $13 million investment in the region. This much-needed investment comes at a time when the conventional and organic dairy sectors are facing extreme pressures, from skyrocketing feed and transportation costs to continuing supply-chain disruptions, to limited processing infrastructure in the Northeast.
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Image: Drilled cover crops take root on a farm in Waterford, VT.

Vermont Pay for Performance Program Application Now Open for Farms

Program provides performance-based payments to Vermont farmers for reducing phosphorus runoff

January 5, 2023 | Montpelier VT - The Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) is pleased to announce that applications are now open for the Vermont Pay for Performance (VPFP) program. VPFP is a new and innovative program that uses environmental modeling to provide performance-based payments to Vermont farmers for reducing phosphorus (P) losses from their agricultural fields.

Applications for the 2023 VPFP Program are due by January 20, 2023.
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NBC5 News Story on Farmer Peer Program

In this brief news story, the Farmer Peer program is highlighted.
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milk in crates

$1 million in working lands funding, covid recovery, 12/16/22 deadline

Primary producers of farm and forest products can now apply now for the ARPA-Funded Primary Producer grant opportunity! The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative (WLEI) has released a request for applications (RFA) totaling $1,000,000. This grant opportunity is possible due to federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds appropriated by the Vermont legislature to the Working Lands Enterprise Initiative. The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative anticipates releasing a second ARPA-Funded Primary Producer Grant opportunity in 2023, with available funds of up to $1,000,000. Examples of eligible primary production activities are farming, livestock rearing, maple sugaring, dairy, and logging.
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Farmers at Honey Field Farm harvesting daikon

Valley News Article: Program trains Upper Valley farmers to help others in mental health crisis

This great article in the Valley News profiles 3 of our Farmer Peers, and shares about the increasingly stressful work of farming. [Photo credit: Valley News Lebanon, NH, Jennifer Hauck.]
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health insurance scrabble

Farmers and Health Insurance Podcast

Agrisafe podcast series, Talking Total Farmer Health, takes up the topic of health insurance. Listen and learn.
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$600 Relief Payments for Farm Workers

The Farm and Food Workers Relief Grant Program
A one-time direct relief payment of $600 will be available to qualifying frontline farm, grocery, and meatpacking workers for expenses incurred due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Suicide Prevention Training for the Agriculture Community

Waterbury - Nov. 30th 1pm to 3:30 - CANCELLED
Williston - Dec. 3rd 9am to noon
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Farmer in greenhouse

Vermont Public Radio story on the Farmer Peer Network

In June, 2022, VPR caught up with farmer Valerie Woodhouse to talk about how stressful farming can be, and why she's becoming a Farmer Peer to help other farmers.
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