Extra Help for Beginning Farmers in Iowa

Savings Incentive Program Applications Due Nov. 20

Susan Payne
By  Susan Payne , DTN Social Media and Young Farmer Editor
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Steve Strasheim, owner of Twisted River Farm in Mitchell, Iowa, is a member of the Savings Incentive Program class of 2023. (Photo courtesy of Practical Farmers of Iowa)

OMAHA -- (DTN) Practical Farmers of Iowa is looking for its next class of beginning and aspiring farmers to apply for the Savings Incentives Program (SIP).

SIP is a two-year program that supports beginning and aspiring farmers in creating successful farm businesses. It offers targeted learning and networking opportunities, support for the farmers to set goals and create a business plan and matching funds up to $2,400 saved by participants during the program. After 24 months and completion of all program requirements, participants earn the dollar-per-dollar match, with a potential total of $4,800 to help purchase a farm asset.

"I encourage any new or even somewhat experienced farmer to apply for a spot in SIP," stated Steve Strasheim in a PFI news release. Strasheim is a member of the Savings Incentive Program Class of 2023 who farms in Mitchell, Iowa.

"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," Strasheim stated.

Additional funds for farmers of color are available, including a $1,000 start-up grant at the beginning of the program and a 1:2 match. For every $1 a participant saves, PFI will provide a $2 match up to $4,800.

Applications are due Nov. 20 for the class of 2025, with a start date of January 2024. To date, SIP participants have invested over $500,000 in their farm businesses with program support.

"For over a decade, the Savings Incentive Program has helped over 200 beginning farmers create a healthy farm business," stated Kayla Koether in the news release, PFI's senior farm viability manager. "Farming poses many challenges, especially for those just getting started, so we are eager to give farmers the tailored support they need to establish a successful business."

To be eligible, farmers must either be farming on their own for seven or fewer years or have experience working for a farm business. Applicants must reside in Iowa or farm in the state or bordering counties in adjoining states. Applicants must also be a member of PFI. Those who are not members can join at practicalfarmers.org.

For questions or to check eligibility or for help getting signed up, farmers should contact Kayla Koether at 515-232-5661 or email kayla.koether@practicalfarmers.org.

Susan Payne can be reached at susan.payne@dtn.com.

Follow her on X @jpusan.

Susan Payne

Susan Payne
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