Farmers: consider Individual Development Accounts to help you build your farm business

Author: Arielle Reid, Director of Policy & Advocacy, NeighborWorks Umpqua

Publish Date: Spring 2020

Neighborworks Umpqua has just launched their own IDA program for Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Coos, and Curry Counties in Oregon. For more info, contact Arielle at

Dreams and goals are powerful things to have. They allow us to act today in support of becoming our best and higher selves tomorrow. For many Oregonians, there is no clear and direct path to reaching their dreams or achieving future life goals. What if there were a program that could help create a plan, map out the steps, and provide some financial support to get you closer to your goals?

Individual Development Accounts or IDAs is that program. IDAs have matched savings accounts that support qualifying Oregonians with lower incomes in gaining assets. This is done through increasing financial management skills while we save towards a defined goal. IDAs build pathways of opportunity and create models of economic success in Oregon communities, including rural communities. IDAs encourage us to dream big and provide us with the support to achieve this.

As participants, we enroll in the IDA program through one of the many partners located in all corners of the state, set a goal, and begin saving. Once we have reached our savings goal, and all parts of the savings plan are completed, every dollar we saved is matched by the program, typically three dollars for every one dollar saved. We can use our matched funds to help us become homeowners, fulfill an educational goal, start or grow our small business, to restore a home to habitable condition, or purchase equipment to support employment.

The requirements for the IDA program are pretty straightforward. You are eligible if:

  • You are an Oregon resident
  • You are at least 12 years old
  • Your household income is below the IDA Income

Limits set by county income-limits-2019-final-04-30-19/

  • The net worth owned by your household is below $20,000. (Net worth is the value of what you own minus what you have in debts. To calculate net worth for an IDA, you don’t have to include the value or debt of one owned home and one owned car, and you don’t have to include $60,000 in retirement savings.)
  • You can commit to setting aside money on a monthly basis
  • You are willing to work with an IDA Provider to complete additional requirements included in a personal savings plan and financial education.

To find out more about how the IDA can support you in achieving your goals and to find a provider to get started, please click on the link below.