Beginning producers sought to rent state-owned Berks County beef farm

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Beginning beef producers may have the opportunity to rent a barn, facilities and pasture in Wernerville, Berks County, thanks to the Center for Beef Excellence and Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

Applications

Applications are available on the center’s website at www.beefexcellence.org, and will be accepted until March 18. Completed applications should be mailed to Willard Lemaster, Center for Beef Excellence, 2300 N. Cameron Street, Harrisburg, Pa. 17110.

The farm is located at the intersection of Route 422 and Sportsman Road, just 12 miles from Reading, the farm is part of the Wernerville State Hospital and owned by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

The facilities include a renovated dairy barn with maternity pens, best suited for 20 cow/calf pairs, along with 46 acres of pasture, plus 60 acres available after corn is harvested in the fall.

Fencing and watering systems are in place. Portable handling facilities include a chute system with a scale that will also be available. The center is working with the Natural Resources and Conservation Service to develop a grazing plan with the new producers.

Interviews

Applicants will be interviewed by the Department of Agriculture and the Center for Beef Excellence staff who tentatively plan to make a decision by April 1.

There are no living facilities for the producer and there is no shelter for animals out on pasture. The project is modeled after the Center for Dairy Excellence’s successful Capitol Dairy located in Harrisburg that has already enabled one young dairy couple to start on their own.

The second producer has been renting the facilities for nearly three years.

For more information about the facilities, contact Lemaster at 717-705-1689, or Lemaster@beefexcellence.com.

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