Savings Incentive Program

About SIP

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 to creating 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 program’s launch in 2010, the Savings Incentive Program has helped 183 beginning farmers on their path to establishing a healthy farm business. To date, these farmers have saved over $302,000 – and after receiving their match dollars, have been able to purchase more than $489,000 in long-term assets to further their farming operations.

How SIP Works

Business Planning

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.

Network-Building

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. .

Capital Investing

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.

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.

Jordan Scheibel

Who Is Eligible?

To be eligible, you must:

  1. Either be farming on your own now and have farmed for seven or fewer years, or have experience working for a farm business.
  2. Reside in Iowa or farm in the state of Iowa or bordering counties in adjoining states
  3. 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 have 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 to Apply

Savings Incentive Program applications are are currently closed. Please email Greg Padget at greg.padget@practicalfarmers.org for more information.