Part of making the decision to take over a farming operation is developing your team. On Tuesday, August 8, 2017 over 90 attendees circled around tables to harvest information from a variety of speakers. Speakers shared information with young or beginning farmers on programs and opportunities that can help them succeed in the future.
- Mary Glaspie, from the Iowa County Farm Service Agency (FSA)
Mary encouraged young farmers to get into their local FSA office and speak to an agent about the various programs they offer. Whether dealing with the exciting purchase of their first farm or the tragedy of livestock death loss, the FSA has programs that can help with many different scenarios.
- Steve Ferguson from the Iowa Agricultural Development Division (IADD)
Steve offered tips on applying for tax credits and beginning farmer loan programs which can help young farmers obtain a lower interest rate or help them market themselves when negotiating with landlords. Steve also shared some of the changes to their various programs that will be happening in the next year.
- The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Wendell Jones and Stacie Lowe discussed various ways NRCS can help young farmers develop temporary practices such as cover crops or permanent projects including, but not limited to, waterways, terraces, and wind breaks.
- Dr. William Edwards from the Iowa State University Beginning Farmer Center
The Iowa State University Beginning Farmer Center offers a variety of programs and resources for young farmers including Ag Link, a platform designed to match beginning farmers to retiring farmers in hopes of continuing to pass along farming operations to younger generations. Dr. Edwards also encouraged attendees to become involved in local agricultural based groups to network with peers. Your local extension office has information regarding the various groups at the state and local level.
- Steve Bohr from Farm Financial Strategies
Steve Bohr discussed the various aspects of planning for the next generation and ultimately encouraged young people to “Oppor-Communicate” – communicate about the opportunities that may be presented in the future. Without communication it is difficult for operations to move forward efficiently and effectively.
- Brian Waddingham from the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers
The Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers has a wide variety of resources to help farmers with everything from identifying sites for livestock barns to developing positive neighbor relations. Brian Waddingham with the coalition explained they offer many resources to help farmers wade through the waters of regulations that Iowa farmers face. One of their focuses is on wind breaks around livestock barns to help reduce odors and provide screening making them more visually appealing.
The day wrapped up with Hills Bank covering three basic areas for beginning a successful business. Attendees were encouraged to 1) develop a plan for growth, 2) develop a team of trusted advisors, and 3) focus on working on their business rather than in their business.
Hills Bank Business Academy provides education to farmers and businesses in the area to help improve their operations with the ultimate goal of seeing them succeed. Check out additional upcoming events at www.HillsBank.com/BusinessAcademy. The calendar is updated frequently so check back often. If you missed the Financing the Beginning Farmer event, please email BusinessAcademy@HillsBank.com and request a copy of the presenters’ materials.