February 11, 2013

Washington County, Ohio – The Conservation Fund’s Natural Capital Investment Fund (NCIF), the Appalachian Center for Economic Networks (ACEnet), and Rural Action celebrated a collaboration that helped the Stacy family of Marietta increase their farming operations and preserve the agricultural tradition of Central Appalachia.  

The Stacy family can date their Ohio agricultural roots back to 1899, when Albert and Lina Frost Stacy purchased land outside of Marietta for dairy production and orchard harvesting. Today, Stacy Family Farm is owned by Bill, known as “Farmer Stacy,” and his wife Janet. The farm provides a variety of fresh local food to farmers’ markets, grocery stores and restaurants in the surrounding communities. Together with their three children, the Stacys grow sweet corn, popcorn, broccoli cauliflower, green beans pumpkins, cucumbers and renowned pick-your-own strawberries.

For years, Bill and Janet wanted to increase their production and saw an opportunity to do so when the Marietta State Nursery, a 98-acre tract along State Route 7 went up for sale. All they needed was financing to help them purchase the land. Connecting the dots, ACEnet and Rural Action referred their longtime client to NCIF.  Using a $200,000 small business loan from NCIF, Farmer Stacy was able to leverage an additional $800,000 from Farm Credit Services and pay for the expansion. The loan was made possible thanks to a generous Program Related Investment (PRI) from the Ford Foundation as part of an initiative to boost local food value chain systems in Central Appalachia. 

The acquired 95 acres have been protected from non-farm development under a conservation easement and will be converted to an irrigated specialty crop production farm. Farmer Stacy’s oldest son, William, will take over the management and development of the new farm land under his parents’ supervision and will plant several acres of blueberry bushes that will expand the variety of pick-your-own produce offered at the farm.

Approximately two acres of the recently acquired land has been put under special state supervision and non-development limitations as an endangered plant site for the willow tree. Over the next two years, the farm’s increased operations are expected to create 6 full-time, 2 part-time and 30 new seasonal jobs.

“We are pleased to help the Stacy family expand their farming operations by more than 300% and begin to write the next chapter of their rich family farming history,” said Marten Jenkins, President of NCIF.  “Additionally, we’d like to thank ACEnet and Rural Action for their tremendous amount of trust in our ability to help a longtime client reach their goals. We look forward to working together in the future to assist more Appalachian enterprises that are devoted stewards of the region’s natural resources.”

ACEnet Director of Programs, Leslie Schaller expressed her organization’s appreciation of the collaborative with NCIF: “Regional partnerships bring tremendous value to our work serving local food and farm entrepreneurs. The loan to the Stacy Family Farm will have powerful marketing impacts as the Stacy’s expand and provide more local food to consumers throughout Appalachia Ohio.”

Natural Capital Investment Fund is a multi-state, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) that lends to small businesses engaged in natural-resource based or environmentally friendly products and services. As part of The Conservation Fund’s Green Business Lending initiative, NCIF’s impact investments have leveraged $44 million in strategic financing for emerging green enterprises in West Virginia; North Carolina; Georgia; and the Appalachian regions of Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio. Additionally, NCIF has provided more than 7,500 hours of technical assistance to more than 350 small businesses across the region. 

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land since 1985.

Press Release Contacts
Ann Simonelli | The Conservation Fund | 703-908-5809 | asimonelli@conservationfund.org
Marten Jenkins, Natural Capital Investment Fund, (304) 876-2815 x207, mjenkins@conservationfund.org