GETTYSBURG, PA (March 14, 2016) – A 4th-generation Adams County farmer and livestock producer recently added more than 100 acres of farmland to his family’s agricultural holdings thanks to a low-interest business loan facilitated through the nonprofit Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) and funded through a mix of state resources and local bank financing.
Jeff Weikert of Weikert’s Livestock, Fairfield, says the acquisition of a 112-acre Highland Township farm will allow him to grow crops and eventually raise cattle on the property, located along Knoxlyn-Orrtanna Road. All of the cattle currently owned by Weikert’s Livestock graze on Virginia farmland; the purchase will help his family raise their signature beef cattle closer to home.
“I was raised in the (agriculture) business,” says the 31-year old Weikert, whose family business currently includes his father, uncle, and cousin. “My great-grandfather started the family business more than 50 years ago, and I hope I can pass it along to my children one day, so it’s awesome to carry on that tradition.”
Weikert’s Livestock relies on 700 acres of Adams County farmland to produce corn, soybeans, and hay; the recent purchase gives the family more than 800 acres in total. Soil quality on the new farm is good, according to Weikert, and the property’s rolling hills include a vista of the Gettysburg Battlefield and Little Round Top.
“I never thought I would have the chance to buy a farm at such a young age, so I jumped at the chance,” he continues. “I couldn’t have done it without the financing from ACEDC which gave us a crazy low interest rate.” Jeff, along with his wife Lyndsey, are
Financing was organized by ACEDC Vice President Kaycee Kemper through the state’s Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA), and local banker Luke Walton, M&T Bank, Gettysburg.
“ACEDC is pleased to see the next agricultural generation becoming involved and taking ownership of farmland,” states Kemper. “We are seeing a positive trend—Adams County’s young farmers are finishing their education, then coming back home to begin their adult lives and launch amazing advances in the world of agriculture. We’re happy to be a part of that transformation, partnering with commercial lenders to make these projects possible.”
The Weikert project marks the 42nd loan facilitated by ACEDC to Adams County farmers since 1996. Previous loan projects, located throughout the entire county, supported projects that included cattle, orchards, cold storage, chickens, crop production, eggs, turkeys and wineries.
“It is eye-opening to many people, to hear the phrases ‘agricultural business’ and ‘economic development’ in the same context,” explains Robin Fitzpatrick, ACEDC President. “Our organization exists to support Adams County’s three main pillars of industry—agriculture, tourism, and manufacturing/industrial. Every county has a distinct blend of businesses comprising its economy; agriculture is a cornerstone of Adams County’s economic ‘personality.’”
ACEDC is certified annually by DCED in order to process and administer loan and grant programs for Adams County’s businesses.
ACEDC began administering loans to the agricultural and tourism industries during Governor Edward G. Rendell’s administration, 2003-2011, thanks to revised and restructured state policies.
Complete economic benchmarks achieved over the past nine years by ACEDC include:
- More than $26.5 million in total public investment via low-interest loans and grants from DCED
- More than $74 million in total private investment via local commercial financing
- Jobs created in Adams County: 587
- Jobs retained in Adams County: 1,520
ACEDC is a private, 501 (c)(6) not-for-profit organization incorporated in 1989 as a result of a task force initiated by Adams County business leaders. The corporation is governed by a board of director comprised of many local and regional community leaders from all sectors of industry. Membership is open to both individuals and businesses at a variety of levels, which not only offers member benefits, but allows ACEDC to continue its 26-year-long mission: To improve the economy of Adams County while preserving and enhancing the quality of life by formulating, implementing and promoting economic development strategies for sustained investment and employment opportunities in Adams County.
For more information, see acedc.org or call 717-334-0042.
SUGGESTED CAPTIONS FOR ATTACHED PHOTO: ACEDC Loan Supports Agricultural Acquisition: A 112-acre Highland Township farm was recently purchased by Jeff Weikert of Fairfield’s Weikert’s Livestock, thanks to a small business loan facilitated by Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC).
MEDIA CONTACT: Karen Hendricks, Hendricks Communications, 717-253-3553