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Savings Incentive Program
**The application period to participate in this program in 2024 has ended. Please email Sarah Carlson at sarah.carlson(at)practicalfarmers(dot)org for more information.
The Savings Incentive Program (SIP) is a two-year program that supports beginning and aspiring farmers in creating successful farm businesses. SIP offers:
- Targeted learning and networking opportunities, with guidance from experienced farmer mentors
- Support setting goals and creating a business plan
- Matching funds up to $2,400 saved by participants during the program
When starting a farm, you are in charge of everything from production to business management. The Savings Incentive Program is designed to help you stay accountable to your goals and create a business plan. Over two years you will increase your network and invest your savings into an account; PFI will match your savings when you complete the program requirements.
Since the Savings Incentive Program first launched, program participants have invested over $500,000 in their farm businesses with program support.
How SIP Works
Create, implement and improve your farm business plan. During the two-year program you practice using your business plan as a decision-making tool, with support, accountability and learning opportunities throughout the process.
You will draft a farm plan for each year in the program and leave with a three-year plan to guide your farm business after graduating. You will receive expert feedback on your final business plan.
Participate in networking and mentoring activities through PFI events, class specific farm visits and a personalized one-on-one mentor match. Access to mentors and peers will help you learn new skills and gain knowledge.
You will leave the program with an expanded network of people who can help nurture your farm development, and the tools to continue to build relationships in agriculture.
Over the two-year program, you will save up to $2,400 into your farm savings account. After completing the program, Practical Farmers of Iowa will match your savings dollar for dollar, up to $2,400, to use toward the purchase of a farm asset or assets.
Additional funds for farmers of color: PFI is also offering additional start-up funds for farmers of color. This includes a $1,000 start-up grant at the beginning of the program and a 1:2 match: for every $1 participants save, PFI will provide a $2 match, up to $4,800.
Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible, you must:
- Either be farming on your own now and have farmed for seven or fewer years, or have experience working for a farm business.
- Reside in Iowa or farm in the state of Iowa or bordering counties in adjoining states
- Be a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa.
“I encourage any new or even somewhat experienced farmer to apply for a spot in the SIP Program. There’s been a lot of great networking opportunities, as well as really helpful financial planning tools. I’ve also enjoyed getting to know the mentor farmers and touring their operations.”
– Steve Strasheim, 2023 graduate of the Savings Incentive Program