Grants offered to Pa. dairymen

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MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – Grants of up to $1,500 are available to eligible Pa. dairy producers for developing business plans.

The Business Planning Assistance Program, coordinated by the Pennsylvania Dairy Stakeholders, received a special grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to continue the program beyond its inaugural year.

The goal of the Business Planning Assistance Program (BPAP) is to encourage the development of business and strategic plans for dairy producers in Pennsylvania.

Participants must be existing or start-up dairy farms within Pennsylvania.

Proceeds from the grant may be used only to cover the cost of having the professional services necessary to assist the applicant in evaluating a Pennsylvania dairy farm business.

Approved services could include the preparation of a feasibility study or business plan, managerial services, or other services associated with planning and business management.

Ineligible services include: routine accounting and tax preparation, feed ration development, crop services, or other production-related areas.

The initial funding for the Business Planning Assistance Program came from a grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, matched by dairy industry contributions.

To date, 19 business plans have been completed and more than $25,000 paid to producers in the state. Ten additional projects have been approved.

Although the BPAP can provide 75 percent of eligible project costs up to a maximum of $1,500, the actual amount of the funds awarded to any applicant is based on the viability of the project, economic impact and fund availability.

Applicants are required to contribute at least 25 percent of the total project costs from their farm business.

The BPAP application process involves three steps:

1. Interested applicants must first discuss their proposal with the BPAP coordinator by calling 717-948-6328. After initial eligibility is determined, a copy of the application is forwarded to the applicant.

2. The applicant must complete the application and submit it to the review committee.

3. The project will be reviewed and a funding recommendation will be made by the review committee.

Any producer interested in applying for a grant should contact N. Alan Bair at 777 West Harrisburg Pike, Middletown, PA 17057; 717-948-6328.

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