Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) announced the approval of an agriculture project through the Commonwealth Financing Authority (CFA) that will use a $400,000 First Industries Fund (FIF) loan to purchase a 103-acre dairy farm in Blair County.
“Pennsylvania’s dairy industry has faced its share of challenges over the past few years, and the Wolf Administration has been focused on helping our commonwealth’s dairy farmers through a number of loans, grant programs, and other investments,” said DCED Secretary Dennis Davin. “This loan will not simply help one family realize their dairy farming dream but will also bring business to Blair County and Pennsylvania milk to market.”
The approved project, awarded to Merle and Priscilla Fox of Woodbury Township through Southern Alleghenies Planning and Development Commission, will provide a $400,000, 2 percent, 15-year reset rate FIF loan to acquire a 103-acre dairy farm. The dairy operation can house up to 115 mature cows and 40 replacement heifers. Located on the farm is a single-family dwelling, dairy barn, silos, several equipment sheds and a manure pit.
The Foxes, who both have extensive dairy farm experience, are able to purchase the farm through a family succession plan. The farm operation has historically sold all their milk to the Maryland and Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative. The cooperative has agreed to continue to accept the milk from the Foxes. However, the Foxes will explore all options regarding marketing their milk before taking over the operation. Cull cows and calves will be sold at local livestock markets.
“Pennsylvania’s dairy farms contribute $12 billion to our economy and support 52,000 jobs across the state,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “The investments the administration has made in this dairy farm and in the industry overall feed an industry that literally feeds our families and our economy.”