Practical Farmers of Iowa Admits 26 New Beginning Farmers into the Savings Incentive Program

For Release: November 21, 2014

AMES, Iowa — Practical Farmers of Iowa has selected 26 beginning farmers to enroll into its Savings Incentive Program. This is the fifth year applicants have been accepted into the program, bringing the total number of beginning farmers being served to 106.

The two-year program pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced mentors; provides targeted learning opportunities; offers business planning support and guidance; and gives participants the chance to save money and receive matching funds while learning how to build a profitable farm.

The new enrollees, who will be in the Savings Incentive Program from January 2015 through December 2016, represent a diverse mix of farm enterprises and locations in Iowa. Nearly half raise livestock of some kind, from cattle to pastured pork and poultry – and most intend to add livestock in the future. Five grow or plan to add row crops; over half have horticulture operations; and most enrollees currently run or desire to add multiple enterprises to their farms.

Enterprises range from adding small grains and hay, to raising rabbits and sheep, to specializing in cut flowers and trees. One beginner wants to start an orchard, and several participants hope to add bees to their farms. In addition, six enrollees are refugee farmers working with Lutheran Services in Iowa’s Global Greens program, including four from Burundi, one from Rwanda and one from Burma.

The 26 new Savings Incentive Program enrollees, listed alphabetically, are:

(A separate list organized by county is included below):

  1. Benjamin Barron – Jefferson
  2. Charles Bizimana – Des Moines
  3. William and Stacey Borrenpohl – LaMotte
  4. Hannah Breckbill – Decorah
  5. Alex Congera – Des Moines
  6. Jack Davis – Adel
  7. Jennie Erwin – LeMars
  8. Andrew Friend – Story City
  9. Carl Glanzman and Doris Bane – Oakland
  10. Marty Grimm – Decorah
  11. Etiene Hacimana – Des Moines
  12. Angelique Hakuzimana – Des Moines
  13. Aidan Hamilton – Thornton
  14. Jerret Horn – Newton
  15. Eve Iversen – Story City
  16. Laura Jones – Wilton
  17. Lindsay and Travis Kaiser – Waverly
  18. Karen Koenig – Hampton
  19. Kayla Koether and Landon Corlett – McGregor
  20. Adam Ledvina – Toledo
  21. Greg Lipes – West Branch
  22. Kate Mendenhall – Spirit Lake
  23. Ta Kaw Paw – Des Moines
  24. Bucumi Simon – Des Moines
  25. Travis Voss – Solon
  26. Donna Warhover – Mount Vernon

Kate Mendenhall is an aspiring farmer who recently moved back to her hometown of Spirit Lake after working for a non-profit farming organization in New York. She hopes to start a diversified, organic livestock farm and says she applied to the Savings Incentive Program to get help developing a strong business plan.

“I’m hoping to start my own business as soon as I can find land, and starting with a strong business plan is essential for success – but it’s kind of daunting to do that,” Kate says. “The Savings Incentive Program offers that support and guidance: making sure you follow through on getting your business plan done, answering questions when you have them, working with a mentor. This program will give me the extra knowledge and support to help me manage my business successfully.”

Aidan Hamilton recently started his farm, Aroha Acres, raising heritage pork near Thornton. Originally from New Zealand, he wants to scale up to farm full-time by expanding his operation to include pastured poultry and sheep, as well as honeybees, based on the principles of permaculture. He says accessing the rich knowledge base of PFI members is one of the main reasons he applied to the Savings Incentive Program.

“One of the biggest benefits, even more than the financial incentives, is the mentorship aspect,” Aidan says. “I’m not from this country, and there’s a huge knowledge gap I’m trying to fill. PFI’s core is in its member farmers, and I’m hoping I can draw on this to learn about alternative styles of farming and business planning.”

The Savings Incentive Program works by encouraging enrollees to save up to $100 per month for two years. Upon completion of all program requirements, participants will earn a dollar-for-dollar match on money saved up to $2,400, for a possible $4,800 to use towards the purchase of a farm asset. The program is part of Practical Farmers’ Next Generation Program, which helps more than 1,500 beginning farmers in Iowa and surrounding states network and learn from each other and experienced farmers through field days, farminars, workshops, retreats and other events. Practical Farmers will open applications for a sixth round of participants next fall.

The Savings Incentive Program is made possible through contributions by many Practical Farmers of Iowa members and supporters, USDA’s Rural Development, the Cedar Tree Foundation and an Assets for Independence grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

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Founded in 1985, Practical Farmers of Iowa is an open, supportive and diverse organization of farmers and friends of farmers that seeks to strengthen farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Farmers in our network produce corn, soybeans, beef cattle, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. For more details, call (515) 232-5661 or visit www.practicalfarmers.org.

Contact:

Julie Wheelock | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 | [email protected]

Savings Incentive Program Recipients by County

Bremer

Lindsay and Travis Kaiser – Waverly

Cedar / Johnson

Greg Lipes – West Branch

Cedar / Muscatine

Laura Jones – Wilton

Cerro Gordo

Aidan Hamilton – Thornton

Clayton

Kayla Koether and Landon Corlett – McGregor

Dallas

Jefferson Davis – Adel

Dickinson

Kate Mendenhall – Spirit Lake

Franklin

Karen Koenig – Hampton

Greene

Benjamin Barron – Jefferson

Jackson

William and Stacey Borrenpohl – LaMotte

Jasper

Jerret Horn – Newton

Johnson

Travis Voss – Solon

Linn

Donna Warhover – Mount Vernon

Plymouth

Jennie Erwin – LeMars

Polk

Charles Bizimana – Des Moines

Alex Congera – Des Moines

Etiene Hacimana – Des Moines

Angelique Hakuzimana – Des Moines

Ta Kaw Paw – Des Moines

Bucumi Simon – Des Moines

Pottawattamie

Charles Glanzman – Oakland

Story

Andrew Friend – Story City

Eve Iversen – Story City

Tama

Adam Ledvina – Toledo

Winneshiek

Hannah Breckbill – Decorah

Marty Grimm – Decorah