Published May 22, 2013

Curious About Our Finances?

By Teresa Opheim

Gail Hickenbottom, one of PFI's valuable supporters

Curious About Practical Farmers of Iowa’s Finances? Here’s what you should know:

We are financially strong. Our programming – and budget — has grown from just over $600,000 in Fiscal Year 2008 to just under $1.5 million this year.

Individual donations are the most important. Last fiscal year, about 8 percent of our funding came from individual contributions and another 8 percent from event fees and sponsorships. The more support we have from individuals, the more quickly we can respond to our members’ programming priorities.

Our funding is heavily from grants. Last year 84 percent of our operating budget came from grant sources. This grant funding is from a variety of sources (we are now managing 28 different grants!), so our funding is more stable than that of organizations that rely on just a few grants.

Practical Farmers will thrive in lean times. Practical Farmers is building reserves in order to help us through any big financial hits that might be coming. Unrestricted reserves as of September 30, 2012, were $351,000. We have two endowments with the Community Foundation for Greater Des Moines that totaled about $170,000 at the end of our last fiscal year.

We are committed to supporting our members. We pay stipends to members who conduct on-farm research and demonstration, lead field days, speak at workshops, and more. Last fiscal year, we paid out about $84,000 in these stipends. This level of financial support for members is unusual in the nonprofit world. PFI staff know that most of you who are members would be delighted to volunteer your expertise; our financial “nod” is another way to show that you are valued.

We will help the next generation of farmers succeed. We now have about $271,000 being held in Lincoln Savings Bank for our Savings Incentive Program, which matches beginning farmers’ savings, helps them hone a business plan and learn from experienced farmers and other beginners.

Do you have more financial questions? Contact me at Or contact our dynamite Finance and Benefits Manager, Suzi Howk, at