Published Jun 24, 2021

Financially Strong Through a Tough Year

By Sally Worley

Thanks to robust member and donor support, PFI stayed buoyant through the unique challenges of 2020.

Despite, or maybe due to, the difficult year, Practical Farmers’ budget and membership continue to grow. This is a testament to the importance of PFI’s supportive network in creating resilient farms and communities.

In fiscal year 2020 (Oct. 1, 2019 – Sept. 30, 2020), Practical Farmers received $3.24 million in revenue. This is up by about $445,000 from fiscal year 2019. Much of this growth is due to continued and expanded grant support, additional memberships and generous donations from our supportive network.

Of this revenue, $132,915 came from donations above membership from 291 individual donors. These individual donations are vital to our ability to respond directly to our members’ needs. Of these donations, $26,072 were made to provide savings matches for beginning farmers to put toward farm assets upon graduating from PFI’s Savings Incentives Program.

In addition, 11 generous members purchased gift memberships for others, both supporting PFI and bringing more people into the network (see sidebar). Practical Farmers also received funding from 52 operating grants in fiscal year 2020.

We are humbled to receive donations from such a wide swath of supporters. We realize you have many options for investing your money to make an impact, and are so grateful you have decided to invest in PFI.

We take great care to use your donations to further PFI’s mission of equipping farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Sincere thank-yous to all of you for your generosity that allows us to do this vital work.

Tribute Gifts

Nathan Anderson in tractor cab submitted by himEach year, PFI receives gifts in honor and in memory of people. These gifts are extra meaningful, as they recognize the important impact extraordinary people have had on the lives of those who donated in their name.

This last year, one “in honor of” donation came in the wake of the derecho. PFI lifetime member Nathan Anderson, who farms near Cherokee, Iowa, was in Ames, Iowa, helping his sister and some PFI staff, including Stefan Gailans, clean up felled trees with his chainsaw.
Hardworking Nathan worked the duration of his time in Ames and ended up cleaning up trees for Stefan’s neighbor, Kathryn Corones, as well. As a result, Kathryn donated to PFI in honor of Nathan. Thanks, Kathryn and Nathan both for your generosity!

In honor of:

  • Nathan Anderson
  • Bridget Fonseca
  • Helen D. Gunderson
  • Dr. Ronald Huhn
  • Evelyn Jensen
  • Hayley Nelson
  • Sharon Thompson

In memory of:

  • Lee Blum
  • Mr. and Mrs. J.H. Dillavou
  • Joe Erb
  • John and Dorothy Frantzen
  • Bob and Laura Middleton
  • Beverly Pohlman
  • Art and Agnes Schmitt
  • John and Vera Shivvers
  • Bill Stowe
  • Dick Thompson

Investing in Beginning Farmers

Angela and John Tedesco with farmland owner legacy awardAngela Tedesco, of Johnson, realizes the capital and support that beginning farmers need to get started. Upon graduating from Iowa State University with a master’s degree in horticulture, she started a vegetable farm, one of Iowa’s early community supported agriculture (CSA) programs, near Granger, Iowa, in 1998. Angela says about starting a farm: “It is an intense experience to dive in, plan and execute producing food for so many people each year. It is like birthing a child with a similar load of responsibility, given the commitment.”

Now retired, Angela has served several years on PFI’s SIP committee, providing guidance to program criteria and helping to select program recipients. She has also mentored numerous beginning farmers through PFI’s programs and beyond. She and her husband, John, are part of the PFI community who made a financial donation toward SIP savings matches last year.