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Home » About Vermont Tech » Courses


Vermont Tech’s Agricultural Trainings support students, farmers and agricultural specialists with educational opportunities related to: animals, plants, soils, food systems, sustainability, business and management. Vermont Tech’s Agricultural Trainings teach practical, hands-on techniques in diversified agriculture ranging from vegetable/fruit/berry production, dairy herd management, equine management, food system studies, and maple syrup production to technical skills such as meat cutting and tractor repair. Vermont Tech is continually expanding the trainings being offered to meet agricultural workforce needs and current sustainable techniques.
Upcoming Offerings:

The Organic Farmer’s Business Course
January 10 and March 5, 2014 | 9 am-4 pm
Randolph Center Campus
Cost: $70 (includes instruction, certificate of completion, and meals)

Course Description:
Richard Wiswall shares advice on how to make your vegetable production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit. You will find your farm’s profit centers, learn about efficient farm planning and analysis, efficient farm office management, key financial statements, employee management, and financial tips for success. This all day course will be part lecture, part group work sessions, and part demonstration. 

The course will address: 
  • Planning for Profit: a step by step guide to increase your net profit 
  • Making a Profit on YOUR Farm: what is making money and what is not 
  • Your Marketing Strategies 
  • The Efficient Farm Office: humorous skits and demos outline best practices 
  • Key Farm Financial Statements: what they are and why they are important 
  • Employee Management 
  • Quick Business Fixes
Instructor: Richard Wiswall is owner/operator of Cate Farm in East Montpelier, VT, where he has been farming organically for 32 years. Known for his work on farm profitability and appropriate business tools, he has consulted with over 60 farmers in New England and beyond, helping them in-crease profitability and meet their long term goals. Richard is author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook- A Complete guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff- and Making a Profit, and gives workshops frequently on the subject of farm business. To learn more about Richard and Cate Farm, visit and

Cold Climate Fruit and Berry Planning, Production, and Management
February 18-20, 2014 | 9 am-4 pm
Randolph Center Campus
Cost: $350 (includes instruction, certificate of completion, field trips, and meals)

Course Description:
This course will study the science and methodology behind fruit and berry production including pest and disease prevention and pruning techniques. We will focus on site selection and soil health for the following cold climate fruit and berry crops: apples, blue-berries, strawberries, raspberries, plums and pears. Best application practices for organic methods will be covered, including cost analysis. This class will look at small tree and shrub physiology and pollination requirements. There is a hands-on lab component focused on pruning techniques for blueberries and apples.

Instructor: Marlys Eddy, Vermont Tech Associate Professor; BA & MS, Plant and Soil Science, UVM.

Sustainable Vegetable Production and Business Planning
March 31-April 4, 2014 | 9 am-4 pm
Randolph Center Campus
Cost: $635 (includes instruction, certificate of completion, field trips, and meals)

Course Description:
This course will study Farm Business Planning, Crop Planning and Production, Financial Record Keeping and Analysis, Marketing and Soil Health and Fertility using organic methods. Students will take a holistic view of business development and farm profitability. We will examine effective crop planning methods keeping in mind efficiencies and productivity. Students will compare direct and wholesale markets and learn elements of successful marketing plans. We will look at the preventive value in maintaining healthy soil by utilizing cover crops, performing and interpreting soil tests, calculating sidedressing rates and weed control methods. Best practices for organic production will include consideration of appropriate tools, pest and disease treatments and pre/post handling methods. Students will be introduced to effective record keeping methods for advanced profitability analysis.

Instructor: Mimi Arnstein is the founder/owner of Wellspring Farm, a 5-acre certified organic, diversified vegetable farm serving 160 farm share members & wholesale accounts in central Vermont. Since then she has gone on to provide business consulting assistance to farms, mentored beginner farmers, and has presented to the Vermont legislature, governmental organizations, trade associations, business develop-ment programs, and university classes. Mimi teaches from the personal trials and tribulations of starting and managing a small scale farm. She has extensive expertise in greenhouse & field production, business planning, soil management, small scale mechanization, record keeping, marketing & media relations, employee management, and alternative land leases.

Brewing: Science, Safety, Sensory and Skills
May 12-18, 2014 | 9 am-4 pm
Drop In Brewery, Middlebury, VT
Cost: $1,500 (includes instruction, certificate of completion, field trips, and meals)
Instructors: Steve Parkes, Master Brewer

Course Description:
Through hands on lab experience and classroom lecture, students who complete the Brewery certificate:
  • will be trained in the practical and comprehensive techniques and principles governing brewing quality craft beer and the science of fermentation.
  • will have the technical ability to work effectively in a brewery with considerations for safety, equipment operation and quality testing.
  • will build an understanding of the management, technological and biochemical aspects of the brewing process, including raw materials, malting, brewing, fermentation, safety and finishing; and
  • will learn the essentials of producing a quality beer.
Who should attend:
This program is for persons who desire a formal professional education in brewing science and safety, either to enter the brewing industry or to advance within it. Practical experience is a plus, but not essential for admission. The program is designed for candidates who may have little or no formal academic or technical qualification. The certificate can be an end in itself, or the start of professional development career, leading to the more advanced training in the industry.

Students need to be at least 21 years of age to participate.

Essential Principles and Practices of Cheesemaking
June 26-29, 2014 | 8:30 am-4:30 pm
Randolph Center Campus/Enterprise Center
Cost: $1,500
Instructors: Dr. Montserrat Almena-Aliste, Cheese Technologist and President of Green Mountains LACTEUS International and
Marie Chantal Houde, Master Cheesemaker and president of La Nouvelle France

With the special collaboration of Linda Dimmick owner and cheesemaker of Neighborly Farms

To register click here

Summer Diversified Agriculture Intensive Program

Program Description:
Vermont Technical College’s Summer Diversified Agriculture Program is an intensive study of sustainable agriculture methods backed by science. The program is open to current Vermont Tech students, high school students, students from other colleges and universities and adult learners. The program offers hands-on practical experiences in business management planning, vegetable/fruit crop management, poultry and dairy husbandry, and service learning experiences on Vermont farms. Students will work on Vermont Technical College’s organically managed vegetable farm and working dairy operation.

Areas of Study:
During the program students have the option to earn specific certifications with expert faculty and staff and a total of six credits: three in Agricultural Techniques and three in Vegetable Crop Management and Production. In addition, students will be exposed to various agriculture management and business techniques including direct marketing, CSA model and wholesale. This program will support students looking to enter the food systems work force. Emphasis is on operating and managing a sustainable diverse farm. 

Program Schedule:
Starting June 23rd – July 10th the program will run from 7 am – 3 pm with the Vegetable Crop lecture in the afternoons from 1 pm to 3 pm each day. During this time students will receive three credits in Vegetable Production. 

Starting July 14th – August 14th the program will run from 7 am – 12 pm.  During this time students will receive three credits in Agriculture Techniques, complete their chosen certificates, and experience various agriculture management and business techniques. Starting July 11th, every other Friday will be a relevant service learning opportunity.

Program Costs:
Full Program with room and board:   $6,100   Register
Full Program with room only:   $4,300Register
Full program with no room and board:   $2,600Register

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