Classes help young farmers build financial skills

BURLINGTON — A University of Vermont (UVM) Extension program that helps aspiring young farmers build financial skills and business assets is accepting applications through May 10 for its upcoming one-year program that starts in late June.
The Youth Agricultural Individual Development Account (IDA) Program, a collaboration between the UVM Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Vermont 4-H, offers farm financial management education, mentoring and networking opportunities at no cost to participants. It also provides a 2-to-1 match of their savings, up to a total of $1,000 in match funding, for the purchase of a business-related item such as a piece of equipment or livestock upon completion of an approved business plan.
Applications are available at all UVM Extension offices statewide or online at http://go.uvm.edu/youth-ag-ida.
Applicants must be between the ages of 14 and 21 as of June 1, and have at least one year of experience managing their own income from any size farm or food business from abackyard egg operation to a large sugarbush.They do not need to be in school although may earn school credit for their work in the program.
Participants will be paired with a mentor as well as work with farm business management experts to develop a business plan and learn about the financial aspects of operating an agricultural business. They also will attend workshops, meet with established farmers and receive other assistance pertinent to their operation.
The Youth Ag IDA program began in 2012 with funding from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the U. S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture and continues through the support of businesses and families. In the program’s first four cycles, more than 20 youths used their savings plus match funds to purchase assets, such as breeding ewes and a hay baler, to help them launch or sustain an agricultural business in Vermont.
Email questions to Liz Kenton, IDA Program coordinator, at [email protected] or (802) 257-6967, ext. 308. To request a disability-related accommodation to participate in this program, contact the program by April 24.

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