Pennsylvania Boosts Agriculture with New Funding Awards

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HARRISBURG, PA — On Tuesday, the Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) Secretary Rick Siger announced five new funding awards through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA). These awards, totaling $1,885,000 in loans from DCED’s First Industries Fund, aim to strengthen Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry and spur economic development.

The Shapiro Administration has prioritized investments in agriculture, recognizing its significant role in the state’s economy. Agriculture contributes over $132 billion annually and supports nearly 600,000 jobs statewide.

“The Shapiro Administration understands that agriculture is a crucial component of Pennsylvania’s economy, which is why we’re making investments to boost the industry in the Commonwealth,” said Secretary Siger. “These loans approved today by the CFA will help Pennsylvania farmers acquire new properties and make critical infrastructure improvements that will help them grow and prosper. Our new economic development plan will help ensure the Commonwealth continues to be a national leader in agriculture ― helping the industry thrive well into the future.”

The First Industries Fund (FIF) seeks to enhance Pennsylvania’s agriculture and tourism sectors through loan guarantees. The funds can be used for acquiring land and buildings, constructing facilities, purchasing and upgrading machinery and equipment, and providing working capital.

The following FIF loans were approved:

  • Berks County: Dustin W. and Amber G. Fessler received $400,000, through the Greater Berks Development Fund, for the acquisition of an 81-acre farm at 7283 Bernville Road in Jefferson Township.
  • Columbia County: M&K Family Farms LLC received $400,000, through SEDA-Council of Governments, to construct a 49,016-square-foot layer barn at 75 Kulp Road in Catawissa Township.
  • Lancaster County: Willows Farm LLC received $400,000, through the EDC Finance Corporation, for the acquisition of a 45-acre farm at 436 and 438 Beaver Valley Pike in West Lampeter Township.
  • Lebanon County: Daryl L. Alger received $400,000, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, to construct a grain bin at 144 South Mount Pleasant Road in South Annville Township.
  • Lebanon County: Meyer Farms received $285,000, through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation, to construct a 31,000-square-foot broiler house at 1600 Church Avenue in Annville.

The CFA was established in 2004 as an independent agency of DCED to manage Pennsylvania’s economic stimulus packages. It oversees the funding of programs and investments aimed at fostering economic growth in the state.

Transforming Agriculture in Pennsylvania: Sowing Seeds of Sustainability and Economic Growth

The importance of these loans extends beyond financial support. They reflect a broader strategy to ensure the sustainability and expansion of Pennsylvania’s agricultural sector. By investing in infrastructure and property acquisitions, the state aims to provide farmers with the tools they need to increase productivity and adapt to changing market conditions.

Agriculture is more than an economic driver; it is integral to the social and environmental fabric of Pennsylvania. Supporting this industry helps maintain rural livelihoods, promotes food security, and contributes to environmental stewardship. These investments also have ripple effects, benefiting related industries such as food processing, transportation, and retail.

Moreover, the focus on agriculture aligns with broader economic development goals. A robust agricultural sector attracts investment, creates jobs, and supports community stability. It also positions Pennsylvania as a leader in sustainable and innovative farming practices.

Governor Shapiro’s proposal to invest $100 million in the VIP program for the 24-25 budget highlights the administration’s commitment to long-term agricultural growth. This level of investment is crucial for addressing modern challenges such as climate change, technological advancements, and evolving consumer preferences.

In conclusion, the new funding awards announced by Secretary Rick Siger represent a significant step toward strengthening Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry. By providing critical financial support to farmers and agricultural businesses, the state is ensuring that this vital sector continues to thrive and contribute to the overall economic health of the Commonwealth.

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