Farmer Workshop at Bobolink Farm

Mentorship Program


The Beginner Farmer Program Mentorship Cohort is a farmer-to-farmer mentorship opportunity supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County (CCESC). The program focuses on individual learning opportunities through mentor-mentee interactions on the phone, via zoom, and in person on the farm. The mentee’s farm business goals are the foundation for the mentorship, and the mentee and mentor will work together to determine where the mentor’s knowledge and skills will be most helpful for the mentee’s learning process. Outside of the mentor-mentee interactions, mentees will be expected to participate in a certain number of workshops and farmer networking events hosted by Cornell Cooperative Extension Sullivan County. Mentees will work alongside other participants in the Mentorship Cohort and learn as a community with the other mentees. Mentees and mentors will be matched with the help of CCESC staff. If you are a couple/pair, you can apply as 1 mentee together and you will share the $10,000 stipend.

Mentors and mentees will work with CCESC staff throughout the 12-month commitment to ensure both mentors and mentees are benefiting from the mentorship program.

For our 2024 Mentorship Cohort, there are 5 mentee spots designated for veterans. There will be an additional veteran cohort of those 5 mentees, and CCESC staff will organize events and networking opportunities for the veteran cohort.

Cohort Size

10 mentees per year, with an additional 5 veteran mentees


This is a free opportunity for accepted applicants.


Mentees will receive a $10,000 stipend for the 12-month commitment, the stipend will be separated into four $2,500 installments, after each quarter. Quarters are every three months. Mentees must meet the requirements of the mentee program as outlined in their agreement to receive the stipends.

Who this program is for

The Mentorship Cohort Program is for individuals who are ready to take the next step toward starting and/or establishing their farm business in the Catskills Mid-Hudson Region. We do not require a certain number of years farming; we understand that the number of years farming does not always translate to agricultural knowledge depth nor commitment to starting a farm business. Our program prioritizes serving historically underserved individuals and communities in agriculture, with a priority for individuals located in the Catskills Mid-Hudson Region.

Learning Objectives

Develop a foundational understanding of the components involved in building a farm business.

  • Understand journey from farm worker to farm ownership.
  • Holistic visioning and goal setting
  • Strategic business planning
  • Marketing and branding
  • Legal regulations and consideration
  • Sales operations and logistic
  • Financial planning
  • Land access
  • Capital and resource access.
  • Agricultural Production
  • Farm Food Safety

Program Expectations

  • Mentees will have a set of goals for the mentorship.
  • Mentees should be prepared to attend 4 mentee check-in meetings with CCESC staff. This is approximately a 1–3-hour commitment.
  • Mentees commit to 1 monthly farm visit with their mentor.
  • Mentees will be open to the learning opportunities provided through the mentorship.
  • Mentees will commit to attending 1 workshop per month that is relevant to their goals, through CCESC or other organizations.
  • Mentees will commit to attending 4 mentorship cohort meetups and 6 Farmer Mixers hosted by CCESC. There will be events organized for only veteran farmers, that can be substituted for the networking events expectation.
  • Mentees will commit to attending the Fall 2024 Farm Business Training Series.


  • You have a clear idea of the type of farm business you want to start.
  • You have a sense of short-term and long-term goals for your farm business.
  • You want to start a farm business in the Catskills Mid-Hudson Region
  • Priority will be given to applicants located in Sullivan County, the application is open to individuals in the Catskills Mid-Hudson Region (Delaware, Columbia, Greene, Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Westchester, Putnam).

Enterprises we are able to support through this program:

  • Food, herbs, and flowers
  • Land-based by-products (honey, maple syrup, cheese, etc.)
  • Non-food by-products (fibers)
  • Hydroponics/aquaponics
  • Livestock operations

Enterprises we are not able to support through this program:

  • Cannabis farms.
  • Equine farms.
  • Farms focused primarily on education as opposed to production.

Application Selection Criteria:

The follow variables will be the main determining factors in application evaluation:

  • Regional relevancy (location in Sullivan County or the Catskills Mid-Hudson Region)
  • Participation commitment and availability
  • Clarity about business direction and goals.
  • Eligibility of enterprise
  • Openness to learning.

Application Review:

Applications will be reviewed by the Beginner Farmer Program Advisory Committee; applications will be made anonymous for the review. Following the review from the Advisory Committee members, three CCESC staff members will make the final decision based on the reviews. 

How to Apply:

Click here for the application!  To submit, please return applications as a file attachment by email to Alternatively you may mail or drop off your application in person during Extension business hours, Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM at 64 Ferndale-Loomis Rd, Liberty NY 12754. Applications are accessible on this page, there is a link in first sentence of this section and on the top right corner of this page. Alternatively, you can pick up printed applications at the Extension office. If you have questions you may contact Taylor Adam, at 845-292-6180 ext.130 or Please address all applications to Attention: Taylor Adam.

Application Timeline - Application Window Closed for 2024

  • November 1, 2023: Applications open.
  • December 22, 2023: Application closes.
  • January 11, 2024: Notification of acceptance, offers.
  • January 19, 2024: Offer acceptance due with required paperwork.
  • January 22 – February 5, 2024: First meeting with mentor & CCE staff.
  • February 5, 2024: Mentorship begins.


Taylor Adam
Beginner Farmer Program Manager
(845)292-6180 ext. 130

Last updated January 3, 2024