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Horn’s Farm beefs up organic meat, vegetable production

The Progress Fund backs farmer and wife’s Horn O Plenty restaurant

Manns Choice, PA – Sept. 4, 2012 – September is Local Food Month in Pennsylvania, and few routes from field to fork are more direct than the one between the newly improved Horn’s Farm and the recently opened Horn O Plenty: A Farm to Table Restaurant.

The 242-acre Horn’s Farm, operated by the same family for a century in Manns Choice, has just improved its intensive, organic grazing practices and work space. Its produce is the foundation for the menu at Horn O Plenty, which opened in early summer in nearby Wolfsburg, just outside of Bedford. Both financed their recent development through The Progress Fund, which builds rural economies through both agriculture and hospitality.

Jeff Horn left the insurance industry to run Horn’s Farm, and he and his wife, Mandi, expanded on the organic practices already used to grow vegetables and raise cattle and sheep. “I just wanted to make food that was safe for me and my family to eat,” Jeff says.

Working with organizations including the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture – which sponsors Local Food Month – the Horns devised a plan to improve output and sustainability. It involved dividing the farm into 17 pastures with water collection and troughs, using thousands of feet of locally-cut wood fencing and pipe from area vendors. Jeff also drew on the expertise of the Rodale Institute and World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.

For funding, Jeff “tried banks, but the whole bank thing in the past few years is so tight, it took forever to get even a little bit of funding,” he says. So he turned to The Progress Fund.

The Progress Fund loaned $190,000, allowing Jeff to consolidate debt, fund the intensive grazing improvements and build a new work building to replace several dilapidated structures. Now Horn’s Farm is even better able to supply Horn O Plenty: A Farm to Table Restaurant, which Mandi launched in early summer. The Progress Fund backed that venture with a $320,000 loan.

With its ever-changing menu of locally grown and raised foods, Horn O Plenty is attracting a health-conscious, freshness-loving clientele from all over the region. “They can come in and sit down and have a meal at a restaurant,” Jeff says, “and feel good about it.’

To interview Jeff Horn, call 814-285-8477, or email to jeffhorn4@gmail.com. More information is available at myhornoplenty.com.