HARRISBURG, Pa. — Governor Tom Wolf today announced awards of $1.15 million in tax-exempt, low-interest financing for two Lancaster County farms through the Next Generation Farmer Loan Program. The program gives beginning farmers access to affordable capital to purchase farmland or agricultural equipment, lowering interest rates and boosting farm profits through a unique state-federal-private industry partnership.
“This program is a sound investment in feeding our future,” Gov. Wolf said. “Putting our commonwealth on sound fiscal footing and lowering the barriers that keep young people from entering the field are two of the ways Pennsylvania is supporting the young people who will feed us and feed our economy tomorrow.”
With Next Generation Farm Loans, tax-exempt interest income to the lender or contract seller enables them to charge the borrower a lower interest rate that is exempt from federal, state, and county taxes. Loans are approved by the PA Department of Agriculture in partnership with the PA Department of Community and Economic Development and local industrial development authorities. Program guidelines and information and a list of Industrial Development Authority contacts are at dced.pa.gov. Farmers apply through their county’s Industrial Development Authority.
Last month, $2.8 million in Next Generation Farm Loans were awarded to five young couples purchasing property to expand or start farm businesses. Up to $15 million was allocated for the program in 2022.
The two beginning farmer operations awarded loans include:
John L. and Sadie K. King, of East Drumore Township, Lancaster County — $575,000 to finance the purchase of a 12-acre farm and buildings to expand their produce business. The Kings have been raising produce on a small farm and selling to local farm markets for seven years.
Ashton and Lorielle Weaver of Fulton Township, Lancaster County — $558,000 to help finance purchase of a poultry and crop farm from Ashton’s parents. The couple has operated poultry houses on the property for the past year.
“Pennsylvania leads the U.S. in young producers and Lancaster County alone is number one nationwide,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “We lead for a reason. And a big part of that reason is the investments we have made in the past seven years in improving access to capital and planning resources, along with grant funding and support to lower regulatory burdens, bridge opportunity gaps and finance growth.”
Pennsylvania agriculture feeds $132.5 billion into our economy annually and supports more than 593,000 jobs statewide. Since 2019, Pennsylvania has invested more than $50 million to support and sustain the industry’s growth through the PA Farm Bill, the first and only one of its kind in the nation. Governor Wolf’s proposed 2022-23 budget invests an additional $13.6 million in PA Farm Bill loans, programs and initiatives, recognizing agriculture a key economic driver and funding the Ag Business Development Center for farm transition planning, business planning, marketing, and diversification.
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture