Seeking Farmer Mentors

The UVM Extension New Farmer Project and Women’s Ag Network are seeking three experienced farmers to serve as paid mentors to participants in our upcoming Whole Farm Planning for Beginning Women Farmers class.

Farm tour at Cedar Cirlce Farm

The 10-session course will be offered at Shelburne Farms in Shelburne, VT beginning this January. The mentoring positions offer a great opportunity for experienced farmers to build expertise and knowledge in holistic management.

“We are looking for mentors with 10+years experience operating a farm business,” says Jessica Schmidt, who coordinates the program. Mentors will advise course participants on farm management decision making, financial planning and goal setting. Knowledge and/or interest in Holistic Management is required.

The program is seeking people from diverse backgrounds a

nd various farm enterprises. “We need outgoing people who aren’t shy about making connections with new farmers, and can ask good questions of their mentees,” Schmidt explains. “Mentors should be willing to share their experiences growing a farm, be good listeners and be willing to advise and offer perspective.”

What we will ask of you:

  • Attend the first four training session (you are welcome to attend others but these are required to meet and learn with your protégées).
  • Agree to mentor up to five farmers with less than ten years of experience.
  • Agree to make one site visit to each farm. Be willing to learn about whole farm planning.
  • Complete all required reports and evaluations requested.

What you will get in return:

  • Honorarium of up to $600 (based on mentoring 5 farmers).
  • Travel stipend.
  • Whole farm planning materials and education.
  • Satisfaction from helping a beginning farmer succeed.

To apply to be a mentor, please fill out our online application form.

 

The Whole Farm Planning for Women Farmers course was developed by Holistic Management International, a non-profit organization that promotes and teaches holistic land management based on the on the work of Allan Savory and Jody Butterfield, co-founders of the Center for Holistic Management. Participants learn how to create a values-based farm mission, improve their leadership and communication skills and increase farm profitability. The course also covers business planning, marketing, the whole farm decision analysis process, time management, land and infrastructure planning, soil fertility and integration of livestock on the farm.

The class is oriented to people with 2 to 10 years experience farming. If you’re interested, learn more about the class at the UVM New Farmer Project’s Classes page. Because Vermont collaborates with whole farm planning programs in neighboring states, anyone living near the border of New Hampshire, New York or Massachusetts may be eligible to attend the course in one of those states.

The course is funded by a U.S. Department of Agriculture Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development grant. Holistic Management International staff in partnership with the UVM Extension New Farmer Project and other regional organizations, designed the curriculum specifically for women farmers

For more information or if requiring disability-related accommodations to participate, contact Jessie Schmidt at newfarmer@uvm.edu or (802) 223-2389, ext. 203 or (866) 860-1382, ext. 203 (within Vermont) by Oct. 28.

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About Women's Agricultural Network

WAgN provides education and technical assistance geared to the needs of women farmers.
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