Small Business Spotlight: Makin Bacon, LLC
Makin Bacon is a family-owned and operated farm in Granville Township, Bradford County. Thanks to a Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority (PIDA) loan, Gary Kelly and his family were able to transition their former dairy farm into a technologically advanced facility to raise pigs. Since Governor Tom Wolf announced the loan approval in December 2016, Makin Bacon has constructed a 41,082-square-foot barn designed to accommodate 4,800 hogs.
What does your business specialize in, and who are your clients?
My father started milking cows in the 1950s, and we’ve always been a family business. A little while after I graduated high school, I started working on the farm, and my son did the same. Since dairy cows are so labor-intensive, we wanted to move away from dairy and create something that would be sustainable for my son and his wife to keep the family farm going.
Today, we raise pigs in an antibiotic-free environment and make sure the animals are well taken care of and up to standards.
What does your company do differently that sets it apart?
When we were milking and feeding our cows, we were doing things the old-school way — by hand. It was a labor-intensive process, but everything we’re doing now is basically automated. Some days, very little labor is involved.
The barn automatically feeds and waters the pigs, as well as provides an air-controlled environment. With this technology, we are able to take care of a larger scale of animals.
The PIDA loan we received helped us make this transition. By securing the loan, it was at a much lower interest rate than what we would have received through traditional financing and helped lower the cost of the whole project. This was a tremendous investment for us, and by getting the loan through DCED, it lowered our payments to something that was manageable.
Why are you proud to be a Pennsylvania small business owner?
Our farm has always been in PA. You need to have a certain amount of land to be able to take care of the animals. We’re able to do what we’re doing with these pigs because of where we live. When you see people wanting to come to this area, it makes you realize how desirable this location is. In my mind, there is no better place to live.
I’m also proud of our new barn; my dad would be tickled to see how far we’ve come. I feel like we’re helping the world, and the barn gave us a new life. With our new setup, my son and his wife will be able to continue the family farm and that’s what we want — to keep it in the family.
The Small Business Spotlight is a monthly series posted on the second Saturday of the month which highlights businesses and their owners who are positively impacting their local community.
Gary Kelly, along with his son Tim, manages Makin Bacon LLC. He has helped around the farm since he graduated high school and eventually took over the farm from his father, who started the farm after he retired from the military. Gary has been running the farm ever since, with his son Tim poised to take over the family business raising pigs. In his free time, Gary likes to hunt and enjoy Pennsylvania’s great outdoors.