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Wolf Administration Announces $4.2 Million to Support Agricultural Projects in Five Counties – PA Department of Community & Economic Development

Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced the approval of 13 agricultural projects being funded through the First Industries Fund (FIF). These projects, located in five counties, will help existing farms expand their operations, bring in additional revenue, and transition agribusinesses to the next generation of farmers.
“While Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry helps power our economy, it was not immune to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “Making meaningful investments in our commonwealth’s agribusinesses will help put them back on proper footing, providing life-sustaining food and services to people across Pennsylvania, and the country.”

Bedford County

Elvin and Esther Garman, through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 12-year, $380,000 PIDA loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate for the construction of a new 4,800-head, four room swine nursery, totaling 15,756 square feet. The nursery will be located on a 45.14-acre farm in Bedford County. The Garmans own and operate an 80-cow dairy operation and produce crops on two farms totaling approximately 160 tillable acres, and this PIDA loan will allow them to further diversify their business operations by entering swine production with Country View Family Farms to operate a swine nursery facility. In addition to the new nursery, the couple has also started an ag-drone business which scouts favorable agricultural crop locations for other local farmers. The total project cost is $760,000.

Jeremy J. and Kaitlyn P. Imler, through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 15-year, $369,500 PIDA loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to acquire a 36.23-acre farm in Bedford County which houses a single-family residence, a 17,100 square foot finishing facility, 14,400 square foot farrowing barn, two manure pits, 11 feed bins, a composter and all necessary hog farm equipment, and 2,188 hogs in its swine facilities. The total project cost is $739,000.

Berks County

Matthew and Judith Leid, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to purchase a 147-acre parcel of land with an existing bank barn at the intersection of Sittler Valley Road and Berger Road in Greenwich Township. Approximately 100 acres is considered tillable with the remaining 47 acres being mostly wooded. Matthew will use the tillable acres for corn and soybean production and plans to improve the frame bank barn that is present on the property. The total project cost is $1,050,000.

Dwight and Kathi Zimmerman, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $237,500 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to construct a fourth 31,500-square-foot broiler house on their farm in Upper Tulpehocken Township. The Zimmermans have obtained a new seven-year contract with Bell and Evans that will cover their existing three broiler houses and the new broiler house. The total project cost is $475,000.

Vernon L. and Margaret A. Nolt, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to construct two 63-foot by 700-foot two-stage turkey houses on their 81-acre farm property located in Jefferson Township. The total project cost is $1.2 million and the project is expected to be completed by spring of 2021.

Mark I. and Leslie A. Fessler, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to acquire a 123-acre property located in Penn Township. The land is currently leased by the Fesslers and is utilized as additional crop land. Included on the property are two residential houses that will be rented out for additional revenue. The total project cost is $1.05 million.

Russel and Janet Burkholder, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $375,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to purchase a 55-acre farm from Russel’s cousin, Irvin Leid. The farm is set up for produce and has a small orchard, where more than 90 percent of the produce is sold via “pick-your-own.” Irvin has agreed to mentor Russel and Janet for a few years to ensure a smooth transition of the farming operation. The total project cost is $750,000.

Mull Creek Farms, LLC, through Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, was approved for a 15-year, $200,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to acquire 115 acres of vacant agricultural farmland located in Upper Tulpehocken Township. The property adjoins the farm’s existing land and will provide an additional 78 tillable acres, complementing the existing farming operations. With future plans to add a second pullet house on the existing property, the new land will also provide the additional acreage required for manure application and rotation. The total project cost is $869,000.

Blair County

Aaron and Arlene Fox, through Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 15-year, $200,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to construct a dairy facility on their 56-acre farm located in Woodbury Township. This project is a key component to the couple’s long-term succession plan in which they intend to sell this self-sustaining dairy operation to their daughter and son-in-law, Roselyn and Gary Zeist. Improvements include a 60-stall dairy barn, manure pit and two silos. The total project cost is $400,000.

Reuben B. and Martha M. Newswanger, through Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 15-year, $215,000 loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate to construct a 25,461-square-foot poultry barn located in Huston Township. The house will hold up to 15,000 birds. This is the second barn that the Newswangers have contracted with Perdue to produce breeder chicken eggs. The total project cost is $430,000.

Huntingdon County

Casey S. Carowick, through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, was approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1.75 percent fixed interest rate for the construction of a 4,800-head hog finishing facility to be located on Carowick’s 82-acre property located in Huntingdon County. The construction will allow for diversified operations and a stable source of income. The total project cost is $1,525,000.

Lebanon County

John P. and Ricki L. Light, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, were approved for a 15-year, $240,000 PIDA loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate for the construction of a 63-foot by 500-foot broiler house on the Light’s 150-acre farm property in Lebanon County to diversify the farm’s revenues and provide options for their children to take over portions of the farm in the future. In 2019, with the assistance of PIDA, two broiler houses were constructed on the farm. The total project cost is $512,000.

Jeffrey and Karen Zuck , through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 0.75 percent reset rate for the construction of two 63-foot by 500-foot broiler houses on the Zuck farm in Lebanon County to diversify their farming operation. The Zuck’s have recently obtained a seven-year contract from Bell and Evans for both broiler houses. The total project cost is $1,150,000.

“Investing in Pennsylvania agriculture today is investing in a food-secure tomorrow,” said Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “Farmers show up 24/7, rain or shine, pandemic or not, to ensure food is available. This is $4.2 million of agricultural infrastructure, it’s an investment for all of us.”

More information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority can be found on the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website.

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