Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding announced $1 million in Farm Vitality Grants awarded to 133 farms, including Snipes Farm and Education Center, in 46 counties. The grants, which aim to enhance the long-term vitality of Pennsylvania’s family farms, will be administered by the Ag Business Development Center created under the 2019 PA Farm Bill.
“When Pennsylvania farm families succeed, Pennsylvania succeeds,” Redding said. “These grants will help farm families with all types and sizes of operations create sound plans for their future, and explore the feasibility, profitability and sustainability of those plans.”
Grants fund professional services, including financial and tax planning, research, marketing and other consulting support to plan a farm’s future. The center partners with more than 50 service providers across the state to provide sound business planning for efficient ownership transitions, strategic expansion, diversified production, and financial or technical expertise. Grants will reimburse up to $7,500 of the cost of the funded service.
Grant recipients represent a broad spectrum of farm sizes and products, including dairy, fruit, nuts, vegetables, livestock, poultry, Christmas trees, grains, flowers, honey, maple syrup and Pennsylvania’s newest crop – hemp. Their proposed plans seek to conserve land and water resources, expand their capabilities to produce using organic or aquaponic methods, process dairy into yogurt, cheese or other products popular with consumers, or add direct-to-consumer sales to their business models.
Seventeen grant recipients will be involved in PASA Sustainable Agriculture’s Diversified Vegetable Financial Benchmarking Study, an opportunity to improve their bottom line, working with more than 40 peer Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic farms, and two consulting organizations. Insights from the report aim to give achievable targets for revenues, scale and profit margins. Meetings among participants will also connect them to a group of peers to help support them as they improve their long-term viability.
“Whether supporting Somali Bantu farmers in the Pittsburgh region or vegetable farmers across the commonwealth, the Farm Vitality Grants program will make a tremendous difference in the farmers being able to create plans for a more viable future,” said PASA executive director Hannah Smith-Brubaker. “None of us could have anticipated the extreme demands that the current pandemic would have on farmers, and we all know that having a plan helps us weather unforeseen circumstances, so the timing for this program couldn’t have been better.”
A full list of grant recipients can be found here.
For more information about the PA Farm Bill, and investments in growing Pennsylvania agriculture for the future, visit agriculture.pa.gov/pafarmbill