Pa. OKs low-interest loan to aid expansion of farm in Berks

 

A family-owned agribusiness in Berks County will be growing its operation, thanks in part to a low-interest loan from the state.

The Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) announced Wednesday that it has approved a $1-million loan for Plum Creek Farm on Route 183 in Penn Township.

Plum Creek will use the money to construct a 12,000-square-foot building, which will provide additional space for the production of ice cream, smoked meats and other prepared foods, according to PIDA. It will also expand the farm's market area.

The project, officials said, will allow the company to operate six days a week, year-round, and to create 20 full-time jobs within three years.

"We feel blessed by the growth we've experienced at Plum Creek and believe this expansion will allow us to continue to cheerfully serve our customers and community for many years," said Keith Zimmerman, the company's owner.

Plum Creek is among six businesses across the state to be approved for loans by PIDA.

"Pennsylvania has a strong, diverse network of businesses in critical sectors that drive our economy, like agri-processing and manufacturing, and the companies we're investing in today represent the future of business in the commonwealth," said Gov. Tom Wolf. "As we continue to make targeted, strategic investments in growing businesses, we are helping to ensure that our state's workers, job creators, and local economies thrive."

Plum Creek's 15-year real estate loan was approved at a 2-percent reset rate through the Greater Berks Development Fund.

Plum Creek traces its roots to the early 1990s, when Nevin and Mary Ann Rutt started raising fresh fruits and vegetables, which they then sold from a wagon on the Bernville Fire Company's parking lot.