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.

The Farm First Peer Network is a group of farmers who have been trained in listening skills and accessing resources, and are available to talk-through anything a farmer might be going through. To connect with a peer, send an email to leannep (at)

Farmer on videocall  Learn about our our new FREE Well-being checkup. We'll pay you $100 to participate!! [See news story below for details]

Farm First News

dry corn field

Relief funding from natural disasters in 2021-2022

Has your farm production and income suffered due to natural disasters in the last two years? Did you know you could potentially receive a payment from USDA to alleviate the losses through a new program?

The Emergency Relief Program (ERP) Phase 2 is a revenue-based program that relies on tax and financial records to calculate the losses a farmer experienced because of a natural disaster, instead of the production history FSA programs usually require. ERP provides assistance for crop losses due to certain qualifying disaster events that occurred in calendar years 2020 and 2021.

Comprehensive information is available at the link below. For assistance or questions, please reach out to
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Farmer on video call

New Well-being Checkup. We'll pay you $100 to participate!

A well-being checkup involves your meeting with our health coach (via videoconference or in person), taking a brief survey to assess your wellbeing, and then as appropriate, choosing an area of wellness to work on improving with the health coach over a few free and confidential sessions (generally about 15-45 minutes each). We will then ask you to complete a brief follow-up survey (takes only a few minutes) 3 months later. If interested, contact Ginger Cloud at or (802) 277-6560.

Spring funding opportunities for dairy: marketing and expansion

While there are still pockets of snow along hillsides and cold mountain streams here in Vermont, the forecast shows swiftly warming weather to finally herald spring. For many of you, that means calving, kidding, and lambing. For others, it means increasing your processing as dairy farms increase production. And for some of you, it means both!

April also brings more funding opportunities for dairy processors, farmers, and technical service providers.
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two cows in front of a barn

Enhanced Lighting Rebates for Dairy Farms

Efficiency Vermont has a rebate program to replace lighting fixtures in dairy barns. The incentives, up to $190 per fixture, are based on size of farm, and must be installed by December 31, 2023.
To learn more, call 888-921-5990
or visit
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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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NBC5 News Story on Farmer Peer Program

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