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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.
Since the program’s launch in 2010, the Savings Incentive Program has helped 162 beginning farmers on their path to establishing a healthy farm business. To date, these farmers have saved over $263,000. After receiving the match dollars, these farmers have been able to purchase over $421,000 in long-term assets to further their farming operations.
How SIP Works
Create, implement and improve your farm business plan. During the two-year program they will be held accountable and practice the skills of using your business plan as a decision-making tool. You will receive expert feedback on your business plan.
Participating in mentoring activities and PFI events will give you access to mentors and peers to strengthen your network of skills and knowledge. You will leave the program with the tools to build your network to fit your business needs.
Over the two-year program you will invest up to $2,400 into your farm savings account. 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.
Who is Eligible?
- Applicants must either be farming on their own now and have farmed for seven or fewer years, or have experience working for a farm business.
- Must reside in Iowa or farm in the state of Iowa or bordering counties in adjoining states.
- 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 2022-2023 class. You can submit your application below before October 12, 2021.
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.