Sixteen years ago, Carrie Miller and her husband, Doug, set out working toward a life of independence by starting their crop farm in Belleville.
Four years ago, Miller had to learn how to start again. Her husband had died from melanoma. “I’ve been here by myself,” the 53-year-old said.
Through her grief, she continued on. And one day, she decided to take a leap of faith. She wanted to expand the farm. She and her husband had worked the farm part-time, but she now wanted to take it on full time; it’s what she loves.
Miller now operates a 14,600 bird contract breeder house for Farmer’s Pride, Inc. made possible by a $350,000 Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan through the Business Finance Department at SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG). Fulton Bank provided an additional $350,000.
“I felt pretty good about taking this giant leap,” Miller said. And it worked out. “I was glad to get a lower-interest loan through SEDA-COG; plus, I can pay it off early if I want to. Ray Haden (senior relationship manager) was very helpful and worked with me for each step.”
The chickens come to her farm at 21 weeks and lay eggs which Miller ships to the hatchery also in Belleville. She’s up at 5 a.m. and collects eggs by 8 a.m. She collects eggs again from 2 to 5 p.m. She’s used to the hard work. She grew up on a farm, and after college, she was a milk tester for DHIA for 16 years, milked for people on the side, and then became a dairy herdsman for 10 years for three farms.
Through the process, she found love again, and her boyfriend, David, helped her start this project by providing much of the labor, and he continues to help her. Since growing up on a dairy farm in New Jersey, he has enjoyed this kind of work.
In her spare time, Miller loves to ride and drive Percheron and Clydesdale horses at shows, their manes whipping and strength rippling.
While the farm is hard work, she cherishes the independence it gives her.
“I just like this kind of work. I grew up on a farm where I learned to be independent,” Miller said in her even tone filled with grit. “My dad always told me to do just as good for other people as you would do your own work. When I went to work for other people, I tried to do better than I did at home.”
She carries that hard work ethic and spirit of determination and independence with her to the farm that she and her husband started, the farm that is now her own.
And she carries on, working the farm, riding her strong horses, finding her way in this new day.
SEDA-COG’s Business Finance staff can help you find the right loan and start a new beginning. Call today to start a partnership: 570-524-4491 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.