Savings Incentive Program
Getting a start in farming can be difficult, and sometimes you need a little guidance to keep you on track. The Savings Incentive Program (SIP) was created as part of an effort to help beginners establish viable, sustainable farm businesses. The program was structured with input from beginning farmers, and direction from established farmers.
Savings Incentive Program is a two-year program that pairs beginning and aspiring farmers with experienced farmer mentors. It provides targeted learning and peer networking opportunities, and offers business planning support and guidance.
Upon program completion, Practical Farmers of Iowa matches their savings dollar for dollar, up to $2,400, to use toward the purchase of a farm asset.
Since the program’s launch in 2010, the Savings Incentive Program has helped 138 beginning farmers on their path to establishing a healthy farm business. To date, these farmers have saved over $242,000. After receiving the match dollars, these farmers have been able to purchase over $373,000 in long-term assets to further their farming operations.
Who is eligible?
- Applicants must either be farming on their own now and have farmed for five or fewer years, or have some experience working for a farm business.
- Must reside in Iowa or farm in the state.
- Must be a member of Practical Farmers of Iowa.
“I am farming because of PFI. The Savings Incentive Program was one of the key factors in pushing me to get serious about starting a farm business, and my relationships with PFI peers has been a key source of sustenance in this isolating and challenging business.”
– Jordan Scheibel, Middle Way Farm, 2013 graduate of the Savings Incentive Program
How do I apply?
Savings Incentive Program Applications are NOW OPEN for the 2020-2021 class. Submit your application before October 11, 2019.
This is a long application with open-ended questions and could take several minutes to complete. Data you enter will remain in your browser’s cache for a limited time, preserving your entries in the event of an unforeseen occurrence. Your progress will save, but only for a limited time.
To help fill out your application and ensure your progress won’t be lost along the way, feel free to use this template to complete the open-ended questions that you will be asked on your application. This will allow you to copy and paste your answers when you complete the online form.
Application period opens in mid-summer and ends early fall (August – October) A selection committee of experienced PFI members determine those accepted into the program. To build a strong application, consider the following:
- If you are not already a Practical Farmers of Iowa member, sign up today!
- Get involved in PFI by attending field days, our Beginning Farmer Retreat, the annual conference or one of our many other events. A complete listing of PFI events is included on our calendar.
- Start recording your farm’s mission, values, goals and financials for a draft business plan. Submitting a started business plan scores points in the selection process.
- Sign up for our Beginning Farmer e-mail newsletter.
Learn more about the beginning farmers who have completed the Savings Incentive Programs and those who are currently enrolled.