First Pa. ag small business loans made

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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Pennsylvania awarded two loans each for $175,000 to the Monsour Sheep Farm in Bedford County and the Lady Moon Farms in Franklin County through the Small Business First Fund.

An agriculture first. These funds mark the first loans awarded to a production agriculture business through the program.

The Small Business First Fund program, an economic development tool utilized by local area loan organizations across the state, provides low-interest loans of up to $200,000 for businesses with 100 employees or fewer.

This year, the Small Business First program will provide a total of up to $30 million in low- interest loans.

“Hopefully, more agricultural operations will benefit from this excellent program,” said Acting Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff.

“These loans mark an historic turning point in the Commonwealth, recognizing agriculture as a business and providing farmers the opportunity to participate in the economic development program of Pennsylvania.”

About the farms. Monsour Sheep Farm, a 400-acre sheep farm founded in 1978 in Bedford County, hosts a closed flock of more than 1,000 ewes and lambs. The farm employs 10 workers.

The funds will be used to purchase 115 acres of land and to expand the flock of Cheviot ewes to 200 animals.

Lady Moon Farms is the largest certified organic vegetable farm on the East Coast, started in Snyder County in 1987. The operation moved to Franklin County in 1997 and was incorporated in January 2001.

They currently operate on 340 acres at three locations within Franklin County.

This loan will allow the retention of 30 existing employees and the creation of six new full-time jobs.

The Small Business First program is designed to stimulate the expansion and assist in the retention of small businesses for the purpose of creating new jobs and retaining existing jobs in Pennsylvania.

Small Business First provides low-interest loans for small businesses for land and building purchases and construction, machinery and equipment and working capital.

Businesses interested in applying for funds through the Small Business First program must submit their loan application to the Area Loan Organization that services the area where the borrower’s business is located.

An ALO is a non-profit corporation that the Commonwealth has empowered to make loans.

For more information about the Small Business Loan Program, visit www.inventpa.com or call the customer service line at 1-800-379-7448.

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