PFI Starts Savings Incentive Program to Assist Beginning Farmers

PFI Starts Savings Incentive Program to Assist Beginning Farmers

Practical Farmers of Iowa is now taking applications for the organization's new Savings Incentive Program. Goal is to provide beginning farmers an opportunity to save money while learning how to build a profitable farm.

Practical Farmers of Iowa is now taking applications for their new Savings Incentive Program. The Savings Incentive Program will provide beginning farmers the opportunity to save money while learning how to build a profitable farm. Money saved (up to $2,400) will be matched after completing the two-year program. Applications will be accepted now through October 31, 2010. You can download application forms online from PFI's website www.practicalfarmers.org or call 515-232-5661 to receive a copy in the mail.

Developing an ecologically sound and community-enhancing next generation of farmers is the top priority for Practical Farmers of Iowa, and the Savings Incentive Program aims to equip these farmers with the tools for success, says Luke Gran, coordinator of the program for PFI. The Savings Incentive Program will entice beginning farmers to save $100 a month for two years; after two years, PFI will match their savings 1:1. The beginning farmer can then use this savings to purchase a productive farm asset (land, machinery or livestock). Meanwhile, enrollees will participate in programming to help their farm enterprise succeed.

A review panel of five PFI members will review and rank applications

PFI beginning farmers are excited about the opportunities the Savings Incentive Program will provide. Wade Dooley of Glenview Heritage Farm says, "I'd start my own herd of beef cattle with heritage genetics for optimum weight gain on grass instead of corn. Most of my neighbors are over 60 years old and some are over 70, so the next few years there will be a lot of slack to pick up when these people decide to retire. The responsibility falls on us and we need to be ready for it."

A review panel of five PFI members will evaluate applications in November and rank applicants. Ten beginning farms will be named in December 2010. Applications will be received each fall for the next four years. If Practical Farmers of Iowa raises their $250,000 goal for this program, 20 farms will be enrolled in December 2011, 30 farms in 2012, and 30 farms in 2013.

Eligible applicants must be:

  • Farming now and have farmed for five years or fewer
  • Legal residents of Iowa and farm in the state
  • Members of Practical Farmers of Iowa (If not a member, candidates can join at www.practicalfarmers.org or by calling 515-232-5661.)
  • Savings Incentive Program enrollees will be required to:
  • Open a separate savings account at a bank of their choice and make regular Savings Incentive Program deposits to this account
  • Attend at least four PFI events per year (online, on-farm, or in person)
  • Meet with a farmer mentor three times in one year
  • Complete and maintain a business/whole farm plan over two years
  • Check-in quarterly with a member of PFI staff or business plan consultant of their choice to keep on track with goals defined by the beginning farmer

Donate to the Savings Incentive Program online at www.practicalfarmers.org, or contact Teresa Opheim, Executive Directors, at 515-232-5661, [email protected], or Luke Gran, Next Generation Coordinator, at 515-232-5661, [email protected].

Practical Farmers of Iowa includes a diverse group of farmers and nonfarmers. Corn, soybeans, beef cattle, and hay are the top enterprises for PFI farmers, although many have a variety of other operations, including fruits and vegetables. PFI's programming stresses farmer-to-farmer networking through research and demonstration, field days, conferences, and more. For more information, call 515-232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

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