Pa. dairy businesses get assists from state grants
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Gov. Tom Wolf announced approval on Jan. 23 of 47 Dairy Investment Program grants from the second round of the program.
The grant projects involve value-added processing, research and development and marketing. This $5 million funding is part of the comprehensive Pennsylvania Farm Bill package signed into law last summer.
“My administration is committed to supporting Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, investing in projects that will help dairy producers capture new opportunities and projects that will support the future of the industry,” Wolf said.
Most of this round of projects focuses on developing or expanding new products. Many capitalize on the increasing popularity of cheeses, plus yogurt and flavored milks.
The grants range from over $400,000 for large processing plants to about $35,000 to $50,000 for a single farm producer.
A sampling illustrates the initiatives designed to restore the vitality of the commonwealth’s dairy industry.
The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association $100,000 grant will continue building the Choose PA Dairy Goodness that Matters campaign.
This effort educates consumers on the benefits of purchasing and consuming Pennsylvania dairy products.
Galliker Dairy Company of Johnstown receives $470,076 for a Lynx Ice Cup Filler Machine for its Richland plant. This equipment will significantly increase their ice cream production.
Hidden Hills Dairy LLC, Bedford County, will install cheesemaking equipment at its West Providence Township farm with its $35,384 grant. Flavored cheeses and cheese balls will expand the farm’s production.
A $50,000 boost for a cream separator, butter churn, ice machine and walk-in cooler will enable the fourth generation Simpson family’s Loan Oak Dairy in Marion Center, Indiana County to produce butter, buttermilk, heavy cream, sour cream and coffee creamers and additional ice cream.
Wholesome Dairy Farm in Berks County will use the $73,884 grant to develop a milk protein and plant fiber-based packaging composite material to replace plastic packaging for their dairy foods. Renewable and biodegradable, the materials are safe and effective. Another $50,000 will help construct a storage building and food safety lab. The farm produces Greek yogurt, kefir and yogurt.
The nonprofit Camphill Village in Kimberton Hills, Chester County will install pasteurization and cheesemaking equipment for its disabled residents to use with its $41,389 grant. A 105-gallon vat, cheese press, Gouda cheese molds and an energy-efficient cooling system and vacuum packaging equipment will be purchased as well as supplies for the facility’s existing cheese cave. The cheeses will be marketed through Kimberton Whole Foods and their CSA share.
Organic transition, equipment upgrades and marketing assistance will improve Numa Foods’ productivity with its $83,070 funding. The Montgomery county dairy company will be able to produce 22,500 pieces of their milk-based nougat snacks per hour compared with the previous rate of 4,500 pieces hourly. Their $83,070 funding will provide for two 80-quart mixers, a cutting machine, pouch filter and packaging machines and two sugar boiling systems.
Turner Dairy Farms, Allegheny County, received funding at the first round of the Dairy Investment Program last spring to develop its cold-brewed coffee-milk beverage. Turner’s specialty milk drinks include chocolate banana, cookies and cream, orange cream, pumpkin spice, s’mores, and more are typically produced for limited times. Chuck Turner adapted his orange cream milk to fit the school lunch program. The new $334,282 grant will expand Turner’s line of milk beverages.
Leslie Farm, in Lawrence County’s Little Beaver Township, plans new equipment for producing yogurt from its grass-fed cows with its $33,963 grant award. Senator Elder Vogel (R-Beaver/Butler/Lawrence), chairman of the Pennsylvania Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, commented, “Yogurt production from grass-fed cows addresses another specialized marketplace. The Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program is intended to direct money toward efforts like this that will truly benefit farmers and help promote their products.”
The grants required a 15 percent match of the project cost. The award maximums were $500,000 for value added processing for a co-op, processing plant or multi- producer; $100,000 for research and development, or for marketing; $50,000 for organic transition or for value added processing for on farm or a single producer.
The Dairy Investment Program is administered jointly by Pennsylvania’s Department of Community and Economic Development and the Department of Agriculture under the direction of the Commonwealth Financing Authority.
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