Farm to School Grants Kick Off

By Trevor Lowell, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets

October is National Farm to School Month and one of the ways we celebrate here at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is with the launch of our annual Farm to School and Early Childhood (FTSEC) grants. The FTSEC grant program has been around since 2007 and has helped grow farm to school and farm to early childhood into a thriving movement throughout the state. In the fifteen-year history of the program, thousands of children, teachers, students and farmers have benefited, and Vermont has established itself as a national leader in farm to school. 

This year, we’re more excited than ever to kick off a new round of funding. In a huge win for farm to school, the Governor and legislature have authorized a significant increase in the program’s budget. This means we’ll be able to help even more schools, early childhood education providers and non-profits develop and enhance farm to school and farm to early childhood programs throughout the state. 

The first of three grant opportunities, the Farm to School and Early Childhood Grant, opens for applications on Monday October 3rd, with a deadline to apply of November 3rd. This grant provides financial and technical assistance to schools and early childhood education providers to help develop or grow their farm to school programs. The second grant, the Community Supported Agriculture Grant, will open in early January of 2023. This grant helps subsidize the cost of CSA or farm share subscriptions for early childhood education providers and afterschool programs looking to serve more local food in their operations. And finally, the Farm to School Vision Grant will open for applications in early February of 2023. This grant funds innovative farm to school projects led by schools, early childhood education providers and/or non-profits. 

Visit our website for more information about any of these funding opportunities, or reach out to program manager Gina Clithero,, with any questions.  

Governor Scott poses with a Farm to School class in 2018.
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NE-DBIC Grantee Spotlight:
'Vermont Shepherd' Talks Sheep

IMAGE: 'Vermont Shepherd' was one of the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center's recipients of the Goat and Sheep Dairy Supply Chain Grant from 2021.

By Brockton Corbett, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets 

In any industry, creating support for new and existing professionals is vital to its success. This is just as true in the northeast dairy industry as any other. It’s important that this support comes from experienced professionals who have been in the field, sometimes literally, for some time.   

Vermont Shepherd is a family-owned and operated sheep and dairy farm located in Putney, Vermont. With over 30 years of experience, the owners of the farm have a strong understanding of the landscapes their business exists in. They understand the opportunity that the goat and sheep dairy supply chains represent in Vermont, and they are excited to share their expertise with other folks interested in cultivating and/or maintaining a flock of their own.   

In 2021, Vermont Shepherd was awarded a Goat and Sheep Dairy Supply Chain grant for $42,062.00 from the Northeast Dairy Business Innovation Center. This grant is contributing to the supply chain in a few ways. Firstly, it is enhancing the genetic pool available to Vermont farmers. Secondly, it is enabling them to work with new and existing farmers and teach them how to manage a flock and produce high quality products. Vermont Shepherd is also working with the public to increase understanding of sheep and sheep dairy products.   

To achieve their goal of improving the genetic pool of dairy sheep in the area, Vermont Shepherd is employing two techniques: milk metering and regular infectious disease testing. Milk metering collects milk from each of the ewes allowing Vermont Shepherd to analyze the milk’s quality and quantity. They can selectively breed ewes with the best milk production using this information. In addition, regularly testing their lambs for infectious disease will ensure the sheep stock is healthy. These methods guarantee that the sheep stock Vermont Shepherd sells to other farmers in the region will be healthy and produce increased volumes of high-quality milk. 

In addition to improving the sheep stock in the area, Vermont Shepherd is also delivering an educational workshop series to a cohort of new and existing sheep dairy farmers. They are recruiting participants from surrounding states. The workshops educate participants on how to run and operate a sheep farm and dairy with topics including lambing, milking, pasture management, dairy sheep health, and processing, and marketing sheep milk products. Drawing on their decades of experience and pulling in experts to teach, workshops like these are invaluable to new and existing farmers, especially for an industry that has largely been out of the spotlight. As consumers interest only grows in sheep and goat products, as highlighted in research funded by NE-DBIC, opportunities to educate new farmers is key to the success of dairy farmers in the Northeast.  

If you get a chance, go visit the folks and flock at Vermont Shepherd!   

Follow the below links for NE-DBIC Grant Information
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Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP)

Open for Applications
IMAGE: ESCH 5612 No-Till Grain Drill for cover cropping purchased by CEAP 2022 grant recipient Vosburg Farms in St. Albans, VT. (Photo: Mark Vosburg) 

By Nina Gage, VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets 

The Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets is pleased to announce that funding is available for farmers in the Capital Equipment Assistance Program (CEAP). Financial assistance is available for new or used innovative equipment that will aid in the reduction of surface runoff to agricultural wastes to State waters, improve water quality of State waters, reduce odors from manure application, separate phosphorus from manure, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, or reduce costs to farmers. Eligible applicants include custom applicators, nonprofit organizations, phosphorus extraction equipment providers, and Vermont farms required to comply with the Required Agricultural Practices. 

CEAP is a reimbursement style grant program, which means applicants, once selected for funding, will have to purchase 100% of the equipment and will be reimbursed by the State up to 90% of the actual cost, or up to the corresponding funding cap by category. Please note that shipping/freight fees are not reimbursable costs. 

CEAP applications are due by November 1, 2022. Application requirements include completion of the CEAP Application, an applicant questionnaire, and quotes for the requested equipment. Letter/s of support are optional and should add relevant and helpful information about your application if submitted. Please refrain from including letters of support which may clearly be biased.  We highly encourage applicants to apply online to ensure a timely receipt of applications. This method of submission also provides applicants with confirmation that their application has been received.  

Notification of grant awards will occur by February 1, 2023, and equipment purchase will be required after award notice and before June 1, 2023. 

To learn more about the Capital Equipment Assistance Program or to review the application and program details, including application ranking criteria, visit or email You can also reach out to Agency staff below if you have additional questions: 

CEAP Eligible Equipment Purposes and Funding Rates


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