The Carrot Project and Salisbury Bank are pleased to announce the first loan made through the Greater Berkshire Agricultural Fund to Leahey (pronounced lay-hee) Farm in Lee, Massachusetts. Philip and Jennifer Leahey are reintroducing dairy to the farm where they currently market pasture raised meats from Devon cattle and Tamworth hogs. The Loan will be used towards the purchase of dairy processing equipment for bottling milk and crafting frozen yogurt. This product line will benefit the surrounding communities providing locally produced milk and frozen yogurt.
In 2012, the Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund and Salisbury Bank announced a loan fund to assist farms and farm-related businesses obtain financing which otherwise would be unavailable. Eligible businesses may apply for loans in amounts of up to $75,000 to help farmers and other food system enterprises such as local food processors and distributors finance capital investments and meet operating costs.
“This is an exciting loan because the Leaheys are contributing to locally produced milk with the highest standards of sustainability, including incorporating heritage breeds adapted to New England pastures,” said Benneth Phelps, Loan and Outreach Coordinator for the Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund.
“Salisbury Bank is delighted to assist Philip and Jennifer Leahy achieve their goals and improve their farm,” said Geof Talcott, the Bank’s Chief Lending Officer. “We look forward to financing more deserving businesses and a long relationship with the Greater Berkshire Agricultural Fund.”
Leahey Farm, family owned and operated since 1889, is one of the last small family farms left in Lee. The Farm, which is nestled in the October Mountain region of the Berkshires, produced and sold milk for more than 100 years. In addition to Devon cattle and Tamworth hogs, they also raise other heritage breeds of livestock, such as Suffolk Punch draft horses. Committed to stewardship of their land, they utilize rotational grazing for their cattle, which allows them to be 90% grass fed with local hay and corn fed in winter months.
The Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund is designed to help meet the growing demand for local food. Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund (GBAF) loans can be used for working capital, capital needs such as equipment or buildings, operations, or other improvements for production or value-added enterprises.
The Greater Berkshire Agriculture Fund serves business located in the four-county region that includes Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Litchfield County, Connecticut and Columbia and Dutchess County, New York.
Salisbury Bank is a full-service community bank headquartered in Lakeville, Connecticut and presently operates full service branches in Canaan, Lakeville, Salisbury and Sharon, Connecticut, South Egremont and Sheffield, Massachusetts as well as Dover Plains and Millerton, New York. The Bank has been serving families and businesses for over 160 years and offers a full range of consumer and business banking products and services as well as trust and investment services.
The Carrot Project (www.thecarrotproject.org) partners with farmers, lenders, investors and agricultural service providers to further small scale agriculture. In the Northeast, The Carrot Project administers four regional loan funds in Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts and the Greater Berkshires, and provides business and financial planning assistance to food producers and processors. Across the U.S. The Carrot Project collaborates on research and innovatinve thinking that contributes to a diverse and strong farm sector and food system.
The Carrot Project is at the forefront of change in the food and agriculture sectors. The project makes long-term investments in the building blocks of the food and agriculture economy in order to provide healthful food for consumers, replenish the environment, and contribute to regional and local economies.
For more information about the program, email Benneth Phelps at: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 413.650.6151.
Photo (from left to right): J. Adam Higgins (Commercial Loan Officer, Salisbury Bank,) Jennifer Leahey, Philip Leahey, and Benneth Phelps (Loan and Outreach Coordinator, Greater Berkshire Agricultural Fund).