Wilkinson Farm

NEW OWNERSHIP — Celine and Lee Wilkinson recently purchased their first farm, located on Punch Road, Biglerville, with the assistance with the Adams Economic Alliance.

An Adams County couple purchased a 71-acre Butler Township farm, aided by a low-interest loan arranged through the Adams Economic Alliance and Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA).

The $186,750, 15-year low-interest (3.75 percent) loan processed through the alliance’s Adams County Economic Development Corporation (ACEDC) and PIDA, in partnership with ACNB Bank, assisted Celine and Lee Wilkinson in the purchase of their first farm, located on Punch Road, Biglerville.

The Wilkinsons will establish crops of hay, soybeans and corn on 40 of the farm’s acres. That’s in addition to 120 acres in the Biglerville area currently leased and farmed by the Wilkinsons. Lee, 29, is a fourth-generation Adams County farmer. The family supplements their full-time income by part-time farming; the majority of their crops are sold to Ag-Com, an Adams County agricultural company that has produced and distributed feed commodities for more than 100 years.

“The Wilkinsons are representative of the backbone of Adams County’s farming industry,” says Robin Fitzpatrick, alliance president. “Agriculture, as one of the top three industries in the county, relies on an interconnected supply chain of growers and farmers of all types, raising crops and animals in tandem, and thereby supporting agribusinesses, farmers markets and the production of consumer goods. It is especially fitting that we celebrate and support this family’s loan and farm purchase as we approach the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Financing was organized through PIDA by Kaycee Kemper, alliance vice president, Wayne Steinour, ACNB Bank senior vice president and agribusiness lending manager and Andrea Foore, ACNB Bank agribusiness lending officer.

“ACNB Bank is proud to show our commitment to agriculture by partnering with Adams Economic Alliance and the Wilkinson family in the purchase of this beautiful farm. We’ve built a terrific team of individuals to help with the financing of these farming operations,” Steinour says.

“When you look at the statistics, you really understand the incredible impact of agriculture upon the Adams County economy,” Kemper says. “Adams County is the 23rd smallest of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in terms of land miles, yet we rank seventh in terms of our overall value of agricultural products sold, and fifth overall in the value of crops.”

Additional figures, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2012 Census:

• Adams County ranks first in the state in three different agricultural crops—apples; horses including ponies, mules, burros and donkeys; and fruits including tree nuts and berries. When compared to other counties across the nation, Adams County ranks sixth for apple production.

• Adams County ranks second in the state for turkey livestock.

• The number of acres devoted to soybean crops (23,304) earns Adams County the fourth-highest ranking.

• Acreage dedicated to corn for grain (26,249) and corn for silage (6,158) are the 11th and 19th highest in the state.

• And Adams County’s acres farmed for forage, including all hay, grass silage and greenchop (33,966) ranks 15th across Pennsylvania.

Celine Wilkinson says the low-interest loan from the Alliance made the purchase of their first farm “achievable.”

“It’s a leap of faith, but we’re building for a more stable future, with the goal of eventually making the farm our forever home. It needs a lot of work and TLC but we see the potential. Lee and I were fortunate enough to grow up on farm property similar to what we’re purchasing, and we’re excited to let our kids enjoy that same freedom,” says Celine.

“I want to say how much of a help Kaycee Kemper was along the way, working with us and ACNB Bank. She brought it all together,” adds Lee. “It’s a purchase for today and an investment for our future.”

ACEDC is certified annually by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development in order to process and administer loan and grant programs for Adams County’s businesses including those in the agricultural sector. Kemper encourages Adams County’s farmers, agribusinesses, manufacturers, aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established businesses to contact her regarding potential loan and grant opportunities.

On the heels of a $1.2 million loan to Conewago Township manufacturer Precision Cut Industries in October, the Wilkinsons’ loan marks the 147th low-interest business loan facilitated by ACEDC—and the 49th agricultural one—since 1996. Also since 1996, ACEDC has secured $30.5 million-plus in total public investment via low-interest loans and grants from DCED and $80.1 million-plus in total private investment via local commercial financing.

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