Published Sep 2, 2014

Check Out These Assets!

By Julie Wheelock

Remember getting $10 as a graduation gift, or maybe even $50?  Ever hit the jackpot with $2400? Yeah, me neither.  But graduates of the Savings Incentive Program did!  Completing the Savings Incentive Program nabbed these individuals up to an extra $2400 to match dollar for dollar with their own savings.  So that’s a potential 4800 bucks towards purchasing an asset for their farm business.  Check out these assets of the Savings Incentive Program class of 2012!

Jason Jones pic with feed mixer

Upon completing the SIP program, Jason Jones used his SIP funds to purchase this compost tea brewer.

Nathan Anderson

Nathan Anderson of Aurelia  used his SIP money to make a land payment.

Ban Saunders of Wabi Sabi farm

This sign at Ben Saunders’ Wabi Sabi farm was paid for with SIP money. Ben was also able to purchase a disc for his farm using SIP funds.

Alice McGary on farm

Alice McGary of Mustard Seed Farm chose to use her SIP money to purchase land.

Other graduates of the 2012 class purchased assets including:  Eric Madsen – equipment, Sara Hanson – concrete for a pack shed, Joel Winnes – feed mixer, Ryan Marquardt – water system, Garrett Caryl – tractor.

So, what is the Savings Incentive Program?  And how you can you participate?  Glad you asked.  The purpose of the Savings Incentive Program is designed to give beginning farmers support and guidance to help them succeed in their farming ventures.  To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be farming or have experience farming for 5 or fewer years
  • live OR farm in Iowa
  • be a PFI member

If selected for the program, participants agree to:

  • make regular monthly deposits into a savings account with a Practical Farmers partner bank
  • attend 4 Practical Farmers events per year (online, on-farm, or in person).  Practical Farmers events include online trainings, field days, conferences, workshops, and more
  • meet 3 times with an assigned mentor
  • complete or fine-tune a business plan
  • conduct quarterly reviews  via e-mail, phone or in-person with Practical Farmers staff to check progress towards goals and program requirements
  • complete forms and requested information on time

Graduates of the program receive:

  • opportunities to network and learn from others through PFI events
  • one-on-one advice from an experience mentor
  • finally, a finished business plan! Reviewed by peers and/or professionals
  • AND a dollar for dollar match on money saved, up to $2400, for a total of $4800 to be used to purchase an asset for their farm

If interested in applying for the Saving Incentive Program, simply fill out an application by clicking here.  Need more information, please contact me at 515-232-5661 or at  Applications are due by October 3.

While the assets of the 2012 SIP class are pretty attractive, they didn’t come without some hard work.  Embarking on a farming adventure can be very exciting at first… and then some of the details and footwork can become overwhelming.  Before you know it, days and months can pass without making any real progress on your farming dream.  When I become bogged down with the details of a project, I try to keep myself moving by just making one small step everyday, or even every week.  It might be making a phone call to someone who can shed some light on an obstacle you are experiencing or reading the first few pages of that book that’s bursting with information.  The important thing is, keep moving forward.  Don’t get 10 years down the road and say, “I wish I would have.”

The Saving Incentive Program can help you to stay accountable in taking those necessary steps.  But if you are not ready for a commitment to the program yet, that’s okay. Keep seeking out information through reading, watching, and networking.  Soon, you will have an arsenal full of information to help protect and grow your farm into a successful profitable business.  So, what step will you take today?