Published Mar 15, 2011

Southern Iowa Sustainable Livestock Project

By Kevin Dietzel

Sometimes I like to check out PFI members’ websites to find out more about their farms, their views, their marketing, or anything else interesting I might find. The other day, I was looking at Bill Beaman’s Grazier Farm website and I followed a link called “Helping young farmers”. It led me to a description of a really cool project called the Souther Iowa Sustainable Livestock Project. This project has teamed up with Heifer International to provide loans to beginning or aspiring farmers for the purchase of breeding stock. These are no interest loans with no capital payments in the first year, and the payments are then spread out over the next four years. When the loan is paid back, it is re-loaned to another beginner. How cool is that?

The first loans were given in 2006, and have been paid off. Most of those funds have already been loaned a second time.  “We currently have 5 breeding cattle loans, 1 sheep loan and 1 honey bee operation loan outstanding. Several loans have been paid off and none have defaulted,” says Beaman.

I applaud these efforts, as capital is one of the biggest challenges to getting started in farming. Reasonable loan repayment terms and low or no interest are a huge help.