Wolf Administration: New Investments in Agriculture for Farmers in Six Pennsylvania Counties
May 25, 2021
Governor Tom Wolf announced the approval of $3,469,500 million in funding to expand agriculture operations for nine projects in six Pennsylvania counties. The investments approved today will help farmers acquire buildings, farmland, and construct barns and broiler houses.
“Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry has a long history of providing critical products to people around the world and millions of dollars of revenue to our economy,” said Gov. Wolf. “The projects approved today will help producers expand their operations in regions across the commonwealth, with beneficial impacts that extend far beyond Pennsylvania’s borders.”
The approved First Industry Fund projects are as follows:
Delmar and Carrie Wenger, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $385,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate to acquire an 87.2-acre farm located in Centre and Penn Townships. In the short-term, the land will be used for grain crops, with the long-term goal of constructing poultry houses to allow the farm to become a full-time poultry operation. The property includes 60 tillable acres, a two-story, single-family home, a bank barn, and an implement shed. The total project cost is $770,000.
Jeffrey and Tracy Rohrer, operating as N & R Pork, LLC, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $300,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate to assist in improvements to their existing 39,450 sq. ft. swine facility. The current facility holds 2,800 heads of sow and needs improvements to accommodate their new contract with Acuity Genetics, a subsidiary of Maschhoff Family Foods, LLC. The updates include a new barn roof, concrete floors, special farrowing ceilings, a disinfectant room, and additional furniture and fixture updates. The total project cost is $600,000.
Bradley and Olyvia Swinsinski, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate for the construction of a 5,400 head nursey hog farm on their farm property. The barn will be under contract with N & R Pork, LLC. N & R Pork contracts with Acuity Genetics for the hog production and Brad and Olyvia will be subcontracted by N & R Pork for a portion of the growth cycle. The couple will be responsible for transporting the pigs between properties, manure shipment, utilities, taxes, supplies, repairs, and insurance. The total project cost is $920,000.
Mark and Megan Frederick, through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate for the acquisition of 59.94 acres of agricultural land located in Taylor Township. Mark and Megan will crop the additional acreage to supply feed for their increased herd. They currently rely on rented land to provide sufficient cropland. This purchase will give the couple assurance of adequate acreage to produce the required feedstock. The total project cost is $900,000.
Adam and Amy Hileman, through the Southern Alleghenies Planning & Development Commission, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate for the acquisition of a 145-acre farm located in Woodbury Township. The Hileman family has rented the project property for many years. By purchasing the property, the Hilemans will maintain the crop acreage they currently have and provide stability to the farming operation. Improvements to the property include a two-story house, bank barn and machinery shed. The total project cost is $900,000
Scott and Mallory Sponenberg, operating as Sponenberg Farms, LLC, through SEDA-Council of Governments, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate for construction of a 15,717 sq. ft. swine nursery barn on their 82.40-acre farm located in Montour Township. The new swine nursery barn will house 4,800 pigs and will initially be under a five-year contract with Country View Family Farms. This project will allow the farm to grow revenue while diversifying its sources of income. The total project cost is $885,000.
Curtis and Kelley Buckwalter, operating as Buckwalter Farms, LLC, through EDC Finance Corporation, were approved for a 15-year, $384,500 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate to acquire a 73.05-acre farm property located in East Donegal Township. The property contains
70 tillable acres, a single-family dwelling, a detached garage, an implement shed, and other miscellaneous sheds. Curtis and Kelley have been living on the property for the last 15 years and will continue to live there after purchasing the property. Buckwalter Farms, LLC, will remain the operating entity. The total project cost is $769,000.
Merlin and Karen Shirk, through SEDA-Council of Governments, were approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate to assist in the construction of two 71′ X 500’-layer houses, housing 30,000 birds each, on the 80-acre farm owned by Merlin and Karen Shirk in Spring Township. The project scope includes excavation, construction of the layer houses, and the installation of all fixtures and equipment required for the egg laying operation. The total project cost is $2,015,000.
Jairus Musser, through the NEPA Alliance, was approved for a 15-year, $400,000 PIDA loan at a 1 percent reset rate to construct two 31,500 sq. ft. broiler houses in Washington Township. Jairus recently obtained a new seven-year contract with Bell and Evans for both, which are his third and fourth broiler houses. The two new broiler houses are expected to hold 34,800
birds per house. He will continue to operate his two existing broiler houses which are also under contract with Bell and Evans. The total project cost is $1,023,000.
More information about the Commonwealth Financing Authority can be found on the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) website.