HARRISBURG – A tourist attraction and a dozen farm operations in rural communities throughout the commonwealth will be able to acquire new land, buy new equipment and build and renovate buildings with the support of new state investments announced by Gov. Edward G. Rendell.
“We’re continuing to invest in two industries that are important to our rural communities – agriculture and tourism,” said Gov. Rendell after the Commonwealth Financing Authority approved the projects through the First Industry Fund earlier this week. “The investments we’re announcing will enable these businesses to undertake projects that will position them to grow, create new jobs, and support the economy in the communities they call home.”
The First Industry Fund provides grants, loans and loan guarantees to strengthen agriculture and tourism in the commonwealth. The authority approved $2.2 million in loans through the program for 13 projects in 12 counties.
The First Industry Fund has four components: Small Business First agriculture loans, Small Business First tourism loans, the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund, and loan guarantees.
The following projects have been approved by the Commonwealth Financing Authority:
· $58,000 tourism loan to the Adams County Economic Development Corp., on behalf of the David R. Gladfelter crop farm in Littlestown, to buy a tractor, sprayer and fertilizer spreader.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to the Greater Berks Development Fund, on behalf of David and Lila Burkholder, to purchase a 10.7-acre farm in Bethel.
· $325,000 to the J&J Dairy Farm in Myerstown to buy dairy cattle and milking parlor equipment.
· $75,000 agriculture loan to the Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Corp., on behalf of Leroydale Farms in Canton, to build a heifer barn.
· $62,680 equipment loan to Arlene Fusko, doing business as Destiny Acres Alpacas in Sarver, to purchase two alpacas and farm equipment.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to the SEDA Council of Governments, on behalf of the Henry S. Stoltzfus dairy farm in Woodward, to buy a 55-acre dairy farm.
· $200,000 tourism loan to the Franklin County Area Redevelopment Corp., on behalf of Route 5 Retail Stores and Timberwolf Properties, to be used by the new owners, Willam and Kimberly Smith, to purchase the real estate of the retail gift store in Chambersburg.
· $150,000 agriculture loan to the SEDA Council of Governments, on behalf of Shad and Kristi Ehrisman, to purchase a 61-acre poultry farm in Richfield.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to EDC Fina Corp., on behalf of Brian D. Eckman, to purchase a 108-acre farm for a dairy and hog farm in Peach Bottom.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to the SEDA Council of Governments, on behalf of Melvin E. Swisher Jr. and Marylee H. Swisher dairy and crop farm in Unityville, to build a swine-finishing barn.
· $150,000 agriculture loan to the SEDA Council of Governments, on behalf of John B. and A. Christine Sauder, doing business as the Saudercrest Farm, to purchase 63.5 acres of pasture land in Ickesburg.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to the SEDA Council of Governments, on behalf of Kenneth and Dorothy Martin layer farm, to purchase 133 acres in Mifflinburg.
· $200,000 agriculture loan to the Small Enterprise Development Co., on behalf of co-borrowers Belview Valley Farms and Eric Gemmill, to purchase a 101.5-acre farm in Delta.
Since its inception in 2004 through 2007, the First Industry Fund has invested:
· $36.3 million in 226 Small Business First agriculture loans for acreage, farm equipment and new buildings and additions;
· $9.6 million in 65 Small Business First tourism loans for additions and renovations to lodging establishments, renovation and expansion of attractions, such as museums, restaurants, wineries and marinas, creating an estimated 175 new jobs;
· $28 million in 62 Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund loans to buy or upgrade agriculture- or tourism-related machinery and equipment. These investments have leveraged an additional $18 million in projects that are expected to create 675 jobs; and
· $11.9 million in 17 loan guarantees for 17 projects, including supermarkets in underserved areas, new equipment for a biofuel plant and a new barn and milking parlor for a 4th generation dairy farm, generating an additional $27.4 million in private funds and 301 jobs.