Agricultural Business Development Center supports Pennsylvania farmers | Master Edition


Rooted in Pennsylvania folklore, Groundhog Day has become a national tradition, celebrating the changing seasons.

This month’s event marked 135 years of Punxsutawney Phil’s role as a tipster, and this year it called for an extra six weeks of winter.

While Phil’s weather forecasting skills became a game of chance, Groundhog Day was founded less on mere coincidence and more on planning for the seasons to come.

February 2 is a quarter-day cross, which means it is halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. With or without shade, it’s time to plan for the seasons ahead.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture offers a variety of on-farm planning and business resources to strengthen operations.

We know the work never really stops on the farm, but during these last weeks of winter, I encourage you to take the time to pause and plan for the year ahead.

Founded under the Pennsylvania Farm Bill of 2019, the Center for Agricultural Business Development is focused on being a resource for farmers in Pennsylvania.

This can take many forms, including business planning, generational farm transfers and farm ownership transitions, strategic farm expansion, diversification of farm production, and building a team of financial expertise. and technical.

The Farm Vitality Planning Grant Program offered by ABDC can help with all of this, providing up to $7,500 or 75% of planning costs.

For Trevor Gill, a fourth-generation farmer from Cumberland County, the grant came at a critical time as he needed support to transition from the farm after losing a loved one.

Working with AgChoice Farm Credit, Trevor received a Farm Vitality grant of $7,200 for business succession and planning services to transition from his grandparents’ family farm.

Trevor is not alone. Since the start of the Farm Vitality Grant, 207 farms across the Commonwealth have received support.

Frequently, the ministry is approached about supporting new and beginning farmers as they work with current farmers to lease or buy a farm.

The Beginning Farmer Tax Credit is a program that allows the seller or lessor of farmland, equipment, buildings and livestock to a qualified beginning farmer to claim and receive tax credits on tax liabilities from the seller or lessor in Pennsylvania in the year of the sale. or lease.

For more information about these programs and other planning tools, contact the Agricultural Business Development Center at 717-783-8462, or visit

Planning for the coming year also means anticipating the unexpected. Tools like the dairy margin hedging program and crop insurance are insurance for short- and long-term dividends by guaranteeing a payday.

Insurance is a risk management tool that reduces uncertainty by reducing losses and better positioning farms for long-term financial stability. This looks different for every operation, but it is a necessary step for on-farm business planning.

For dairy producers, enrollment in dairy margin coverage has been extended until March 25. More information is available from your local USDA Farm Service Agency office. Crop insurance enrollment is available until March 15. Find an agent near you by visiting

Whether you’re planning for the year ahead or for generations to come, there are tools to help. The Department of Agriculture is a resource and is committed to helping farmers and producers achieve their goals, building on-farm resilience and the farm economy for years to come.


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