Savings Incentive Program For Beginning Farmers

Savings Incentive Program For Beginning Farmers

Beginning farmers can receive up to $2,400 through Savings Incentive Program offered by Practical Farmers of Iowa. PFI is accepting applications now through October 14.

Practical Farmers of Iowa has opened a new round of applications for the organization's Savings Incentive Program for beginning farmers. Beginning farmers can apply now for an opportunity to save money and receive matching funds 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 14, 2011. Applications can be down loaded online from PFI's website www.practicalfarmers.org  or call 515.232.5661 to receive a copy in the mail.

Do you dream of a future in farming? SIP can help you get started

Developing the next generation of farmers who use ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture is a top priority for PFI, and the Savings Incentive Program aims to equip these farmers with the tools they need to succeed. The program works by encouraging beginning farmers to save approximately $100 each month for two years. After two years and completion of all program requirements, PFI will match their savings dollar for dollar so the beginning farmer could have up to $4,800 to put toward a productive farm asset (land, machinery or livestock). Meanwhile, enrollees will create or fine tune a business plan and participate in programming to help their farm succeed.

A review panel of five PFI members will evaluate and rank applications. Last year 10 farmers were selected to participate in the Savings Incentive Program. This year, 24 beginning farms will be chosen; an additional 66 farmers will be accepted between 2012 – 2014.

Eligible applicants must be: Farming now and have farmed for five or fewer years, residents of Iowa or farming in the state, and members of Practical Farmers of Iowa. If they are not currently members, candidates can join for only $35 at www.practicalfarmers.org or by calling 515-232-5661. 

Savings Incentive Program enrollees will be required to: Open a separate savings account 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 the first year, complete and maintain a business/whole farm plan over two years, and check in quarterly with a member of PFI staff or business plan consultant of their choice to keep on track with goals they have defined.

Make a difference for the future of farming: If you would like to donate to the Savings Incentive Program, you can do so online at www.practicalfarmers.org.

If you have questions about the Savings Incentive Program application process, contact Sally Worley, director of PFI's Next Generation initiative, at 515.232.5661 or email [email protected].

Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers, advancing profitable, ecologically sound and community-enhancing approaches to agriculture through farmer-to-farmer networking, farmer-led investigation and information sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For information, call 515.232.5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

For farm management information and analysis, go to ISU's Ag Decision Maker site www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm and ISU Extension farm management specialist Steve Johnson's site www.extension.iastate.edu/polk/farmmanagement.htm.

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