Cover photo for Vermont Farm and Forest Program Business Advising

Vermont Farm and Forest Program Business Advising

Vermont Housing and Conservation Board

The Viability Program offers business planning and technical assistance to enterprises that keep Vermont's working landscape in production. These include: farm businesses of all sizes and sectors; food businesses that process, store, market, or distribute local agricultural products; and forest products businesses such as maple producers, consulting forestry firms, loggers, sawmills, craftspeople and wood manufacturers.

The Viability Program also offers ownership succession planning for all the business types listed above. Additionally, the program provides forestland ownership succession planning assistance to families who own forestland in Vermont. 


The Viability Program provides a range of services, from in-depth long-term business planning to short-term specialized assistance, including:

  • Business Planning

  • Enterprise Analysis

  • Financial Record-keeping and Management

  • Marketing and Sales

  • Human Resources Management

  • Management Coaching

  • Retirement & Ownership Succession Planning

How It Works

The Viability Program matches participants with advisers who have the specific skills to meet their needs. The Viability Program contracts these advisers to provide on-site, one-on-one, custom-tailored assistance for participants. Services are provided free of charge following a $75 enrollment fee. In some cases, if the scope of work is larger than what the program can cover, participants will need to contribute to the consultancy fees. Participants who have completed the program may also re-enroll in the Viability Program as their business evolves.

Why Enroll?

After participating in the Viability Program, more than half of participants report a high level of strategic planning skills, and almost all participants exit the program with a clear vision for where their business is going. Participants routinely report they are able to place more energy on the quality of their work, and personally, half report that they find themselves satisfied with their ability to balance workload and family life.



The Viability Program's 1-on-1 business advising is open to farms, food businesses and forest products businesses of all types and sizes, so long as:

  • the owner(s) is year-round Vermont resident, currently operating the business in Vermont,

  • the owner(s) is actively involved in the day-to-day management of the business,

  • the owner(s) has at least two years' experience managing the current business,

  • the business has grossed at least $15,000 in the most recent tax year,

  • for food businesses there is an added requirement that these businesses must be primarily involved in adding value to Vermont agricultural products, and

  • for forest products businesses there is the added requirement that these businesses must be primarily involved in the harvesting, production, processing, storage, marketing, and/or distribution of local forest products.

The sole eligibility for forestland succession planning is that the participating family own forestland in Vermont.

Application Instructions

Updated March 22, 2024

Image Credit: Adita Vyas

This information was gathered from public sources. Ambrook is not responsible for or able to affect the results of any financial programs listed, nor are they responsible for any incorrect information that is listed or is on the hyperlinked external sites. All information is subject to change.

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