A local farm in Jefferson Township will receive a state grant to expand its operations and provide a new product to consumers, according to Senator David G. Argall (R-29) and Representative Barry Jozwiak (R-5).

The Commonwealth Financing Authority approved a $35,933 grant to Way-Har Farm Market, LLC to purchase new equipment and labeling for the production and sale of fresh mozzarella cheese. The production of cheese will also increase the use of milk already produced in the facility.

The grant was awarded as part of the Pennsylvania Dairy Investment Program, which was created by lawmakers in 2018 to provide assistance to one of the most important sectors of the state’s agriculture industry.

“The dairy industry has faced significant financial challenges for several years, which has unfortunately caused many farms across the state to close,” Argall said. “The steps we have taken over the past two years to support Pennsylvania agriculture holds the potential to reverse these trends and keep our farms thriving for generations to come. This grant is another important step toward keeping our local dairy operations healthy.”

“Way-Har Farms have been operating in the area for six generations, making them one of the longest-operating businesses in the region,” Jozwiak said. “I am thankful that this grant will help them explore new opportunities and offer something new to local consumers.”

Argall and Jozwiak said that Pennsylvania dairy farming is one of the most important parts of the state’s agriculture economy, supporting 52,000 jobs and contributing $14.7 billion to the state’s economy. However, challenging market conditions have created a serious threat to the livelihood of many dairy farmers. The USDA reported that Pennsylvania lost 370 dairy farms in 2018 alone. The number of dairy cows in the state decreased by 25,000 head.

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