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Farm Asset Builder

Farm Asset Builder is an Individual Development Account (IDA) matched savings program that strengthens farm businesses through asset acquisition and technical assistance. In the program farmer participants will make a plan to save a portion of their earned farm income over the course of one year. While there is no minimum savings amount required, the maximum amount of savings that will be matched is $2,000. Program participants will work with Learning Center staff and our partners on improving their financial and business planning skills. At the same time, participants will be able to save up to $175 each month. The Learning Center will provide a minimum 1:1 match for all participants.

A new partnership with the Department of Health & Human Services will allow us to provide income-eligible farmers with an even greater match of 2:1. Through an Assets For Independence (AFI) grant from the Administration for Children & Families, applicants who qualify for the additional match funds through AFI will receive a $2 match for every $1 saved.  This is the the first year of a five-year AFI grant, and we look forward to being able to provide this additional opportunity for those farmers who need it most. An additional grant from the Oberweiler Foundation will allow Farm Asset Builder staff to continue outreach efforts to military veterans entering the field of sustainable agriculture.

 This program is intended for beginning farmers that could benefit and have a need for:

  • Financial management support (technical assistance)
  • Financial support (capital)

Program Eligibility

 See if you qualify for the Farm Asset Builder program by answering a few questions, take our eligibility quiz.

The Learning Center welcomes applications from farmers that:

  • Farm in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, or Chicagoland
  • Have been producing and selling farm product for at least one year
  • Are Upper Midwest CRAFT members or Stateline Farm Beginnings graduates
  • Demonstrate gross farm revenue of at least $15,000 for the previous fiscal year
  • Plan to expand their farm businesses and earn most of their income from farming
  • We also encourage military veterans to apply

  • A need for financial support
  • A desire to grow their farm operations
  • A need for additional financial management coaching
  • A strong connection with the local farming community and a desire to give back
  • Potential to complete the program 
  • Capacity to save $2,000
  • Ability/motivation to share and improve record-keeping practices, maintain communication with AOLC, and complete/update a business plan with three years of financial projections

Education and Technical Assistance for Participants

Participants will be required to complete the following educational and financial training objectives before the end of the one-year program: Monthly Expectations for Program Participants

  • Share the farm’s recordkeeping practices with the program coordinator and together formulate and implement best practices as needed
  • Track monthly cash flows and compare with projections
  • Complete a business plan with three years of financial and cash flow projections
  • Meet with a banker
  • File a schedule F with their tax return
  • Commit to a monthly savings plan

With the assistance of AOLC staff, financial professionals, and experienced farmers, participants will implement or refine financial recordkeeping systems and key financial statements that successful farmers use to track and manage their finances. In January participants will meet at AOLC with whatever records, recordkeeping systems, and financial tools they have to make a financial tracking plan for the year that will be reviewed monthly for tweaking and course-correction.

Participants will also meet informally with lenders to discuss their businesses’ needs and financial positions, and they will work over the course of the year to determine the best use of the program funds.

Classroom-style workshops have been replaced by one-on-one coaching and technical assistance in this program, but AOLC will support and encourage participants to engage in educational opportunities that will further the financial viability of their farm businesses.

Matched Funds

Angelic Organics Learning Center will match the participants' monthly savings for the purchase of an intermediate– or long-term farm business asset as long as all program requirements have been met. Below are some examples of how the matched funds can be used. (This is not a complete list.)

  • Greenhouse/hoophouse 
  • Irrigation system 
  • Farm Equipment - Tractor, skid loader
  • Farm Vehicle 
  • Breeding livestock

**Matched Funds cannot be used for general operating cash or short-term/current assets.**

Cost of Program

There is no cost for this program, and there is no application fee.

Application Process

The application period for 2017 is now closed.

All information that is sent will be held strictly confidential by Angelic Organics Learning Center. This program is intended to help those that need extra financial support to grow their farm operations, so please keep this in mind before applying.

Questions? Please contact us by email.

Partners and Funders

AgriBank       Alpine Bank

The Oberweiler Foundation

Assets for Independence   

This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2016-70017-25373.

    A grant from Assets for Independence (AFI), a program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds approximately 7% percent ($18,824) of costs for this program. The remaining 93% ($275,000) is funded through other Federal and non-Federal sources.
    Visit the AFI Resource Center website to learn more about the program and about helping families to build assets: