Published May 19, 2010

Land Survey Learnings

By Luke Gran
Today I’ve been pouring over 130 survey responses on our PFI beginning farmer land needs. Here are a few things to consider that I noticed many people might have missed.

Looking for land to start farming? So are hundreds of beginners participating with PFI. The good news – credit is cheap and landowners can get a tax credit for renting or selling to you.

When my parents bought their home in 1988, they got a loan at an 18% interest rate. Today, as a farmer, you can get low interest loan rates as low as 1.25%. Contact the Iowa Agricultural Development Authority and their
While you are there, check out the great opportunities for landowners to receive a Iowa tax credit for renting, cropshare leasing, and selling land to a beginning farmer. Beginners can use this as their bargaining chip when approaching landowners to rent to them.
Be Ready Before you Buy
Well before you think about investing in land, all farm business beginners should seek out mentorships, work on farms, and write a business plan. These steps are crucial to go thru if for nothing else than to think thru your business. How much money will I make per month? What are conservative estimates for sales? What is my budget for living on, for building my business? How much can I save to invest in capital expenditures in the future? Who are my customers? What do they want to buy? Where do they buy my product? For more information on this, refer to the MISA publication “Building a Sustainable Business” available free online: and view farmer Rick Hartmann’s “Farminar” from December 2008 on the Five P’s of Marketing – Product, Price, Place, Promotion, and People

Finally, Join PFI of course, to be eligible for our Savings Incentive Program savings match for beginners (5 years or fewer) you must be a PFI member, farming now, and a legal resident of Iowa.