Officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission visited Fabin Brothers Farms in Center Township this week as part of their tour of farms in the Appalachian region.
The purpose of the tour, which covers a number of Appalachian states, is to examine the potential that farms have for creating economic opportunity, according to the ARC.
“What we’re trying to listen to is the fact that agriculture is economic development,” said Earl Gohl, ARC federal co-chair. “We need to talk to people on the ground about challenges, opportunities.”
The economic development agency is a partnership of local, state and federal governments. Its visit to Fabin Brothers was one on an itinerary of about a dozen farms across the state.
ARC officials have visited farms in nine of the 13 Appalachian states since March, Gohl said.
Owned and operated by brothers Rick and Stan Fabin, the 3,000-acre farm grows corn, soybeans, wheat and hay. The brothers grew up on the farm, which their father started. Their grown children now work at the farm.
At a session during Wednesday’s visit, the farm staff gathered with ARC officials at the Fabin Brothers’ office to answer questions and discuss the farm. Rick Fabin touched on the importance of building a foundation for the future by new marketing strategies and diversification.
“It’s really incredible to see a farm like this which has figured out a plan for the next generation,” Gohl said. “It’s a great story of a family really working together with their life’s work and at the same time, making a contribution to the local economy.”
During the discussion, Fabin also noted how those throughout the county have impacted the economy and agriculture.
“This has been a group effort,” he said. “It’s a whole region that has made this a success so far.”
Before ARC representatives left, the staff led them on a tour of Fabin Brothers corn-processing facilities.
According to the ARC, Fabin Brothers has previously received assistance from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission’s enterprise development program. The program is funded by the ARC.
PHOTO: ARC federal Co-Chairman Earl F. Gohl, second from right, led a tour of Fabin Farms Wednesday. He was joined by, from left, ARC Federal Chief of Staff Guy Land; Lew Villotti, Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission; Rick Fabin; and Art Tintori of Catalyst Connection.