The purchase of a new milk separator for Grade-A processing of fluid milk will allow for higher-margin, direct sales to an expanded regional market.
Funded on 05/26/2021
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania is known for some of the most fertile farmland in North America. It is also home to a community of agrarians whose commitment to quality—in family, work, and community—is evident in every aspect of their lives.
For the better part of the last century, American agriculture was enticed by the short-term returns of mechanization, expansion, and synthetic chemicals. In spite of the constant change around them, Amish farmers like Omar Beiler have remained committed to the hard, yet rewarding work of real stewardship—cultivating the land self-sufficiently with the support of skilled family members, neighbors, and draft animals.
The family farm is not only the Beiler’s livelihood, it is also Omar’s gift to his children, who work alongside him in both the fields and the barns. To achieve financial and ecological stability, the farm is diversified into two unique family businesses: Roam Dairy, which produces milk and dairy products, and Beiler’s Heritage Acres, which specializes in heirloom grains, farm-milled flours, and pastured eggs.
While the quality of the agricultural practices Omar and his Amish neighbors utilize have remained consistent for generations, nearly everything else about the surrounding market has changed. “It’s just hard to make a living like they did 20-30 years ago on the farm,” Omar recognizes, “so you’ve got to keep looking at value-added, niche-type products.” This loan will allow the Beilers to do just that by achieving Grade-A status for direct-to-consumer milk sales.
Roam Dairy already owns a milk separator, but the current machine is broken and the dairy must purchase a new machine before the supplier will reimburse the full cost of the original machine. The new purchase requires significant upfront capital. Once the separator is back online, Roam Dairy will transition their fluid milk from manufacturer’s grade (for products like ice cream) to Grade-A class, which allows for direct-to-consumer sales, and a much more sustainable profit margin.
The ability to conduct value-added processing on-farm is not just an asset for the Beilers, but for their community as well. Since the local dairy co-op went out of business several years prior, many small, Amish producers have been unable to bring value-added products to market or sell across state lines. Roam Dairy’s equipment will serve as a hub for neighboring producers as well as the Beiler family.
A partnership with the values-aligned Union Kitchen in D.C. provides an immediate outlet for 3/4 of Omar’s current production, and the Grade-A class will open the door to supplying other craft coffeehouses, bakeries, and eateries throughout the region. Additional funding from this loan will support the launch of the new fluid milk brand, including a delivery driver to bring Omar’s products to key markets. Supplemental support for marketing and distribution will be sought from the USDA Value-Added Producer Grant.
Amish farming communities beautifully represent a key element of Steward’s mission: empowering more hands on the land. In many cases, the scale of modern agricultural stewardship is completely unsustainable—individual farmers are tasked with managing hundreds of acres, which cannot be done regeneratively. In contrast, the Beilers and their neighbors demonstrate the value of a community of shared generational knowledge and a commitment to human-scale care.
This loan will be made to Beiler’s Heritage Acres doing business as Roam Dairy, a Pennsylvania sole proprietorship. Roam Dairy produces Grade A fluid milk and sells it within a regional market.
This loan is for a new milk separator and additional equipment to get the Roam Dairy brand distributing to regional partners, as well as refinancing an existing loan.
The total loan amount is $80,000 which will assist Beiler's Heritage Acres in growing and expanding its business.
This loan is set at an 8% interest rate, with a 60-month term, and fully amortized monthly payments beginning in 3 months after funds are disbursed.
$22,000 - Replacement milk separator and shipping
$15,000 - Remaining payment for bottler
$2,000 - Marketing and logo design
$18,500 - Packaging, supplies, and shipping
$22,500 - Refinancing existing loan
Total Budget - $80,000
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