Small Business Spotlight : Ben & Tonya Moyer
With more than 19 years of experience, Ben Moyer has always had a knack for growing mums and pumpkins on his family farm — Moyers Mum Farm. In 2006, Ben Moyer took over his family’s farm and focused on growing mums and pumpkins that are unique in shape, size and color. In 2010, Ben and his wife, Tonya, started expanding and increasing the family business into both a mum farm and a poultry farm. We caught up with Ben to learn more about their recent expansion and what it means to them to Work Smart, Live Happy in Pennsylvania.
What inspired the recent expansion on your farm?
My dad first built two poultry barns on the farm in 2004 and then in 2014 he decided to slow down and built one chicken house on an adjacent farm. At that time, he sold the existing farm and chicken houses to my wife and I. From that point on, Tonya and I had plans to continue expanding the farm.
Our most recent expansion was for our poultry farm. With the recent Bell & Evans plant expansion announcement, we wanted to add two more poultry barns to increase the amount of chickens we raise for the company. Bell & Evans is estimating that it will need to increase its breeder farms and farms where chickens are raised by 250 percent to support its new harvesting plant. Our expansion was a result of their expansion – a downstream effect of developments.
We also had the opportunity to go organic in June 2016 because of our ongoing partnership with Bell & Evans. At that time, our two existing barns were converted over to organic. Then, in the fall of 2017 we started our expansion for two more organic broiler barns. All four barns are now part of the organic division, each house holding 34,800 chickens with a total of nearly 140,000 chickens. We’re just happy that there is always room to expand with the growing agricultural industry in Pennsylvania.
How has DCED helped you with this growth?
When we first bought the farm, we applied for the Next Generation Farmer loan through DCED to assist us as we took over managing the farm. For our broiler barn expansion, the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan we applied for offered us a very good interest rate. We were approved for a $400,000, 15-year loan at a two percent fixed rate through the Lebanon Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC). We are also in the process of working on another funding opportunity through the National Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) for manure storage and compost building.
What makes you proud to be a Pennsylvania business?
I was born and raised in Central Pennsylvania and have seen growth in the agricultural industry. There are plenty of good markets here to sell all agricultural products that are produced. I also live 15 minutes from the Bell & Evans hatchery and plant, and its large expansion creates opportunities for farmers like myself right here.
I am also proud to know that my kids, Annie and Kaleb, show a promising interest in the farm life, as well. Part of my and Tonya’s interest in expanding our farm was for our children’s benefit. Every day, our kids will accompany us on our walks throughout the farm and chicken houses. Kaleb, who is only five years old, is interested in every aspect of farm life and wants to be there all the time. The promising future of agriculture in Pennsylvania and the state support to make these expansions happen will support our dreams and generations to come.
The Small Business Spotlight is a monthly series featured on the second Saturday of the month which highlights businesses and entrepreneurs who are positively impacting their local community.
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Moyers Mum Farm originally started with Ben’s family growing produce as well as mums and pumpkins. When Ben and his wife, Tonya, took over the farm, they did everything to increase the family business into both a mum farm and a poultry farm. Their two beautiful children, Annie and Kaleb, love to be out in the mum fields with them and look forward to seeing all the unique and creative gourds, and all the different varieties of pumpkins that is harvested each year. The Moyers take great pride in their hard work and strive to create a fun, family atmosphere for all ages.