Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Announces $300,000 in Farm Transition Planning Grants

Diamond Valley DairyDiamond Valley Dairy, LLC, a preserved dairy farm in Myerstown, PA (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

PENNSYLVANIA — Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced yesterday $300,000 in Farm Transition Planning Grants. The grants, which are available through the PA Farm Bill’s Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program, aim to support the future success of Pennsylvania’s farms by helping families coordinate farm transitions.

“Transitioning your farm from one generation to the next is a daunting and expensive task, but it’s also one that can be lifechanging for your family,” said Secretary Redding. “The PA Farm Bill’s Farm Vitality program has been instrumental in helping families coordinate farm transitions. I encourage farm owners and families to have these important conversations and take advantage of the $300,000 available to support their transitions.”

Lebanon County farm owner John Kline received a $7,500 Farm Vitality Planning Grant in 2019 to seek succession and business planning services, under the guidance of Bare Wealth Advisors and others, to help his family navigate the transition of the farm to his five sons. This transition resulted in the creation of two operations managed by the next generation: 225-acre Klinedell Farms, LLC, and 67-acre Diamond Valley Dairy, LLC.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program helps fund professional services for those planning for the future of a farm. It aims to enhance the long-term health and vitality of Pennsylvania’s farms through sound business planning, efficient transitions of farm ownership, strategic farm expansion, diversification of agricultural production, and financial and technical expertise.

Farmers and prospective farmers are eligible for up to $7,500, which can cover no more than 75% of the project cost, through this program. Applications to the program are currently being accepted. The program will remain open until all funds are exhausted.

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Pennsylvania has long faced a looming agricultural workforce shortage, at one point estimating a deficit of 75,000 workers as farmers retire and new, technology-based positions become available. Many Pennsylvania Farm Bill programs – including Ag & Youth, Farm to School, Beginner Farmer Tax Credits, and Farm Vitality – were designed to address this workforce shortage and secure a stronger future for the industry. In fall 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistic Service released data noting that with 12,598 producers under age 35, Pennsylvania has the highest percentage of young producers in the nation.

Other programs available to help young and/or new farmers include the:

  • Beginning Farmer Tax Credit Program, which provides tax credits to owners of agricultural assets who sell or rent agricultural assets to beginning farmers
  • Next Generation Farmer Loan Program, which uses federal tax-exempt financing to reduce a farmer’s interest rate for capital purchases, such as the purchase of farmland or agricultural machinery and equipment

Since the inception of the PA Farm Bill, more than $2 million has been made available to farmers as part of the Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program. The program has resulted in 271 accepted applications.

For more information about the PA Farm Bill, and investments to support Pennsylvania agriculture, visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill.

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