Published Sep 12, 2022

Applications are open for PFI’s Savings Incentive Program and new Farm Business Coaching program

By Tamsyn Jones


Greg Padget | Beginning Farmer Viability Manager | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

AMES, Iowa (Sept. 12, 2022) — Practical Farmers of Iowa is now accepting applications for two programs – the Savings Incentive Program and new Farm Business Coaching program – designed to help farmers at all stages of their farming careers, whether they are just starting or are seeking to refine an established business.

Applications for both programs are due by Sunday, Oct. 9, and must be submitted using the forms found at Applicants may use one form to indicate their interest in both programs.

Each program has slightly different eligibility requirements, but both require that applicants live or farm in Iowa or bordering counties of adjacent states. Membership in Practical Farmers of Iowa is required – but those who are not members can join at

For questions about either program, contact Greg Padget at or (515) 232-5661.

Savings Incentive Program

The Savings Incentive Program is a two-year mentorship and support program for aspiring and beginning farmers who have been farming for seven or fewer years.

The program aims to help beginning farmers succeed through mentorship from experienced farmers; business plan support; the chance to save money and receive matching funds; and access to a range of learning events and a network of supportive peers.

Those enrolled will start in January 2023 and be part of the SIP Class of 2024. After 24 months and completion of all program requirements, participants earn a dollar-for-dollar match on money saved up to $2,400, for a possible $4,800 they may use to help purchase a farm asset.

Extra financial help for farmers of color: New in 2022, we are offering additional start-up funds for farmers of color. This includes a $1,000 start-up grant at the beginning of the program and up to $4,800 upon program completion.

Applicants must either be farming on their own and have farmed for seven or fewer years; or they must have some experience working for a farm business. This includes, but is not limited to: internships, apprenticeships, working as an hourly or salaried employee or working on the family farm.

Farm Business Coaching

Farm Business Coaching is a new 14-month program aimed at helping established farmers strengthen their businesses through in-depth expert consultations.

Those admitted will start in January 2023 and receive in-depth consulting and coaching to help them identify the most pressing issues they need to address to become more profitable, adapt to changing market conditions, take their business to the next level, plan for a known farm improvement or similar business improvement need.

Please note: This program is designed for farm businesses that directly market their products, including those that sell produce or meat products directly to consumers or to wholesale markets. This program is not ideal for farm businesses that are marketing commodity crops through channels such as brokers or grain cooperatives.

As part of the program, participants will join a peer network and connect regularly with other farmers who entered the program at the same time. They will also be paired with member of the peer group for additional one-on-one support.

Eligibility: Applicants must currently operate a farm business, have at least five years of experience farming on their own and be a direct marketer of local food.

Applicants are also eligible if they are a beginning farmer, regardless of farm type or enterprises. Please note that those currently enrolled in the Savings Incentive Program are not eligible to enroll in Farm Business Coaching.

Full details about Farm Business Coaching and the Savings Incentive Program are available at


About Practical Farmers: Practical Farmers of Iowa works to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities. Our values include: welcoming everyone; farmers leading the exchange of experience and knowledge; curiosity, creativity, collaboration and community; resilient farms now and for future generations; and stewardship of land and resources. To learn more, visit