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Farm Asset Builder Success

By Meg Augustine, Farm Finance Program Coordinator

It’s mid-year, and our Farm Asset Builder participants are well into their growing season. They have also reached the midpoint of Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farm Asset Builder Program—a program in its inaugural year. The Farm Asset Builder Program is a matched savings program that provides farmers with the opportunity and motivation to save. At the end of our pilot year, farmers in compliance with program requirements will receive up to $2,400 to contribute to a farm asset thanks to our sponsors and donors.

Our sponsors are helping farmers gain necessary financial planning skills while supporting healthy, local, sustainable food. The Farm Asset Builder program is part of a USDA project led by California FarmLink and is made possible by our main sponsor and partner, AgriBank, and valued contributors: the Kailo Fund, Alpine Bank, Rockford Bank & Trust, Whole Foods Market – Kildeer, and the USDA.
    
Angelic Organics Learning Center’s Farm Asset Builders farm nearly thirty acres of land in total and employ roughly twenty people. These small businesses have big plans for their savings:

  • Harrison Market Gardens in Winnebago, Illinois will purchase humane, permanent, electric perimeter fences for an animal pasture.
  • Radical Root Farm in Libertyville, Illinois plans to buy a tractor to help with field operations.
  • Three Sisters Community Farm in Campbellsport, Wisconsin will acquire a skid loader to help with composting and soil fertility.
  • Two Onion Farm in Belmont, Wisconsin will buy a brush washer to make their fruit and vegetable processing more efficient.

The above farmers have already completed 80% of the program’s required course work. Because of the resources available through the Farm Asset Builder program, participants have reported an increase in the following key small business skills:

  • Capital Financing – “The financing workshop introduced me to a number of financing alternatives which we have not utilized or even considered in the past.”
    - Chris McGuire, Two Onion Farm
  • Financial Forecasting – “It was good to learn about how much time is worthwhile to put into certain crops, and we learned we should work on planning.”
    - Ben Beyer, Harrison Market Gardens
  • Business Planning – Two out of the four Farm Asset Builders are actively working on their business plans, and one participant has already applied for new financing.
  • Record Keeping – Alison Parker, owner of Radical Root Farm, is taking advantage of the educational workshops so that she can, “become a good bookkeeper and good at accounting.“ Alison is quickly improving her bookkeeping skills and plans to finalize a business plan for Radical Root Farm this fall.

Our Farm Asset Builders continue to save and grow. For more information on the Farm Asset Builder Program, please visit our program page at http://www.learngrowconnect.org/farmer/farm-asset-builder-program/details.

www.agribank.comwww.usda.govhttp://www.californiafarmlink.orgthe Kailo Fundwww.wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/kildeerwww.rkfdbank.comwww.bankalpine.com