Six farms and a high-end audio equipment manufacturer in Berks County were awarded nearly $2.2 million in low-interest loans from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority.
The loans, intended to spur development and create and retain jobs, were part of more than $7 million in development authority loans announced by Gov. Tom Wolf.
“Providing businesses with access to crucial capital is an example of government that works, the result of which will lead to positive effects on the state’s overall economic well-being,” Wolf said.
The farms will be used for soybean and corn crops, poultry and dairy production.
The Greater Berks Development Fund, which is certified by the state industrial development authority to assist the county’s agricultural businesses, helped secure the loans, said Christopher S. Witmer, direct of project development, Greater Reading Chamber and Economic Development Corp.
“As evidenced by these loans approvals, the GBDF continues its strong and effective working relationship with Berks County’s agriculture community, having assisted some 50 agriculture-related businesses,” Witmer said.
“This complements the recently announced Berks County Commissioners’ allocation of $1.02 million to the Berks County Agricultural Land Preservation Board for farmland preservation in 2017,” he said.
The following business were approved for loans:
Oswaldsmill Audio, Fleetwood: $285,000 to assist the company’s expansion with its acquisition and renovation of a 44,000-square-foot building (the former Paul Frederick Shirt Co.) at 26 E. Locust St. The project is expected to create five new jobs and retain two existing positions.
B.P. Shirey Turkey Farm Inc., Douglassville: $400,000 to assist with the construction financing of two houses for turkey production. Each poultry house will contain 44,100 square feet on a 76-acre farm at 6359 Boyertown Pike, Douglassville.
Wanner Farms LLC: $400,000 for the acquisition of two farms totaling 136 acres. The farms are at 15011 Kutztown Road, Maxatawny Township, and 14162 Kutztown Road, Richmond Township. Wanner Farms specializes in crop farming of corn and soybeans.
Robert Wolf: $375,000 for the acquisition of a 59-acre crop farm in Bethel Township. The farm is used for growing corn and soybeans.
David and Cindy Wolfskill: $400,000 to acquire 76 acres of cropland on Lincoln Road, South Heidelberg Township. The loan will assist in crop production to support the Wolfskill dairy business, one of the largest dairy farms in Berks County.
Joshua and Joyce Zimmerman (Wind Crest Poultry): $400,000 loan to assist in the construction of two poultry houses at 120 Leiby Road, Hamburg. Each house will contain 44,025 square feet and be used for an egg-laying operation.