Local Creamery Receives $10,000 AgChoice Grant

BROCKWAY, Pa. (EYT) – Jesse Vivian, of Lane’s End Farm Creamery in Brockway, was one of fifteen farmers in the AgChoice Farm Credit territory to receive a $10,000.00 AgChoice grant.

Winners of this grant are full- or part-time farmers who started farming within the past two years or who plan to start a farm business in the next two years. In addition to farming in the AgChoice territory, recipients submitted a business plan and completed the Ag Biz Basics educational program.

In the case of Lane’s End in Brockway, owner Jesse Vivian was first licensed and began selling milk to the public in March of 2020.

“We had a hobby farm before that,” Vivian told exploreJeffersonPA.com.

Vivian, who grew up on a dairy farm in the Brockway area, said he really just wanted to get back into farming a bit.

“We got one cow and were just playing around, really, thinking about making butter and cheese for friends and family. But, a lot of people remember getting farm milk back when you could find a lot of farms in this area, and they miss that.”

According to Vivian, one thing led to another, and after a time of just giving milk to some family and friends, they decided to start processing their milk for sale. Soon, one cow became two cows, and now, nearly two years later, they have ten cows and are selling creamline non-homogenized milk direct to the public both on their farm and through several local vendors.

Creamline milk is pasteurized, like most commercial milk, but it is not homogenized, so the cream is not mixed into the milk and floats to the top of the bottle, creating the “cream line” the milk is known for.

“Right now we’re just doing milk, both flavored and regular creamline.”

Vivian noted that when they began, both he and his wife, Lisa, were working other full-time jobs, him as an equipment operator and her as a physician’s assistant, and they financed everything themselves. However, they soon found that the combination of their work schedules raising the first two – and then later three children – and running the farm was a bit much.

“We were both working 12 hour days, and that was not working, especially with our kids. It was just too much chaos.”

He then decided to make a change and began pursuing his real estate license, creating a situation where he could set more of his own schedule, so he would have time to coordinate work, the farm, and family.

However, one remaining issue is that the way they operate their farm is very labor-intensive due to the equipment they’re using.

“My parents milked 110 cows on their dairy, and it took about two hours, but it takes me nearly an hour and a half to milk 10 cows because of the single bucket milker I’m using.”

The solution to this issue would be the purchase and installation of a milking pipeline.

“That could take milking from an hour and a half down to about half of that, under 45 minutes, which would be a huge time saver when it’s a chore we have to do every day.”

The cost of such an upgrade is daunting, though, especially for a small family farm operation. Luckily, that’s where the AgChoice grant comes in.

“My wife got it in her mind that she should start looking into grants, and my brother-in-law hooked us up with the Clarion University Small Business Development Center, so we started having conversations with them about it. Then, this grant came across our radar, and we decided to apply.”

With the money Vivian has received through the grant, the family will be able to upgrade their equipment and continue to grow their operation.

“We also have aspirations of getting into agri-tourism,” he noted.

“We’d like to have a place where people could come out to the farm and relax, maybe an outdoor venue. We don’t have that much nailed down yet, but it’s something we’d like to get into in the future.”

While that dream may be further off in the future, at the moment Vivian said they are just happy to be able to provide farm-fresh local milk to their community.

“I think local food will become more important moving forward,” Vivian said.

“We’d like to take the Vermont model, how they saved their agricultural industry, and apply it here in the Pennsylvania Wilds. We’d like to help that transformation happen, which is a lofty aspiration, but it’s not out of reach.”

Currently, Lane’s End Farm Creamery milk is available at Fremer’s Market in Brockway, Calliari’s Italian Bakery & Deli in Dubois, Elk County Foods in Ridgway & Johnsonburg, The Diamond Perk in St Marys, Devil’s BBQ in Brookville, The Gateway Lodge in Cook Forest, and Paesano Pizza in Brockway.

More information and updates are available through their website at www.thelanesend.org as well as on their Facebook page and their Instagram.

“I had no intention of this thing becoming what it became,” Vivian noted. “but, I think that we can capture the beauty of this place, get people to come here and buy products, all while supplying our local towns with really good food.”

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