Farm Viability Farmer Peer-to-Peer Discussion Cohort

Are you interested in joining a Farmer Peer-to-Peer Discussion Cohort to increase basic business management skills, discuss business needs and share ideas? FREE 12-month program for qualifying farms! Cohort meets for a 4-hour session each month.

You can complete an initial pre-screening intake form here  or contact: Betsy Miller at: to learn more, for pre-screening and to receive an application.

You must have a value-added component to your farming operation and meet a few other basic requirements, including: a) participant is a Vermont resident, b) participant has 3 years of experience working and managing farm operations and c) the farm business generated at least $15,000 of gross sales in the previous year. UVM Extension Farm Viability provides assistance referring all applicants that do not meet eligibility criteria to other programs and services available to them. Waivers from the eligibility requirements may be requested and are considered on a case-by-case basis.

UVM Extension Farm Viability offers business planning and technical assistance services to all qualifying Vermont farmers, as part of a statewide effort to improve the economic viability of Vermont agriculture. Once enrolled, all farms meet and work with a ‘lead’ farm business planner usually over a 4 – 12 month basis to produce a written business plan and/or complete other business analysis projects. In the second year, farmers who have completed a full business plan or farm transfer/succession plan are provided with ongoing technical assistance to monitor their progress in implementing their plan.

County Mayo, Ireland, Sept 2013

Sap Selling Season

A sap hydrometer measures the sugar content in a load of sap.

Maple sap harvesting has been underway in many US regions. Now well into March, the season is in full swing.

If you are in the business of selling sap or thinking about starting to, UVM Extension has business resources available to help. For example, you can use our Sap Pricing Calculator to determine the price per gallon paid to the seller or determine  Profit and Loss from Sap Hauling

The Economic Advantage of Sap-Only
Specializing in sap production and selling sap in a business-to-business transaction offers many advantages. Sap sellers are able to reduce their capital investments and focus specifically on sap production activity. Recent research shows that sap-only enterprises may require just 50% of the capital investment compared to a similar sized sap-to-syrup processing business. A typical 5,000 tap enterprise on previously owned property is estimated to require $100k-$120k in sap collection investments. For the same enterprise to invest in syrup processing capacity at least another $110k in capital start-up is expected. Sap sellers can focus their labor and attention to high yielding sap harvest systems without spreading skills and attention into the business of syrup processing, grading, packaging and sales.

Syrup processors see a significant advantage from sap purchasing as well. The investment in a sugar house and the processing equipment is significant. Many syrup processors are seeing the benefits of sizing their facility in order to purchase-in additional sap and increase their equipment usage to enhance profitability. These relationships also enable successful maple brands to supply more customers and focus on the market development logistics to expand maple demand.

Visit for more maple business resources.