Kreider Farms opens silo observation tower

By on May 4, 2016
People can be seen on one of the platforms of the new silo observation tower. Photo by Rochelle Shenk.

People can be seen on one of the platforms of the new silo observation tower. Photo by Rochelle Shenk.

Kreider Farms hopes that visitors touring its Penn Township dairy farm will not only learn about the dairy operation and where their food comes from, but will also take the opportunity to sample a unique experience — a climb to the top of a silo to view the patchwork of surrounding farmland. Number of steps to the top: 172.

Located on Indian Village Road, the 100-foot tall silo observation tower was dedicated on May 2. Ron Kreider, said that the century-old silo had not been used for several years, and the 480,000-pound concrete structure was located elsewhere on the farm. Its 300-yard move last May was a painstaking trek that can be seen in a video on the businesses’ website, kreiderfarms.com, and on YouTube. It was the largest cylindrical silo to be moved in the U.S.

“I got the idea for the silo project a few years ago on a family trip to Paris. Like many other tourists we went to the top of the Eiffel Tower. People like to climb to the top of things to get a view. The silo project started as a way to enhance our farm tours, but it’s so much more than that,” Kreider explained, “It’s about community, land stewardship and transparency. This is a live farm, {what people see here} is not staged. To preserve modern agriculture, we need to educate people about what it takes to provide safe food.”

Both Dennis Davin, secretary of the state Department of Community & Economic Development, and Russell Redding, state secretary of Agriculture, lauded the Kreider family for their effort, vision and land stewardship.

“The silo project is a great engineering feat,” Davin said, adding that this was his first visit to a dairy farm.

“The silo is an iconic symbol of agriculture,” Redding added. “In Lancaster County, folks come to see farms, the landscape, the stewardship and commitment to the land. I can’t think of a better backdrop than Kreider Farms to enhance both agriculture and tourism.”

Davin pointed out that it was a fitting start to the week, since it is National Travel and Tourism Week. He said that tourism plays a key role in both the state and local economy. The state welcomed an estimated 192 million domestic and international travelers in 2014. Total leisure traveler spending grew by 1.6 percent, reaching a new record high of $33.5 billion. Additionally 480,000 jobs are supported by Pennsylvania’s travel and tourism industry, representing 6.5 percent of the state’s total employment. In Lancaster County, the hospitality industry employs over 15,000 people, and tourism spending in the county is up 15 percent since 2010.

Penn Township Supervisor Dick Shellenberger said that the township is proud to have Kreider Farms in its municipality and is looking forward to welcoming tourists as they tour both the farm and the silo viewing tower.

“Kreider Farms is a great community asset,” Manheim Chamber administrative coordinator Kelly Lauver said. “This silo project showcases the important role that agriculture plays in our community and its economy.”

Redding pointed out that agriculture is a business-a business without walls.

“There’s a value in agri-tourism, an opportunity for folks to see, touch and feel agriculture and to see who’s feeding them,” he said. “This project is a reminder that in the business of agriculture, you take a long view — there’s history on this farm of seven or eight generations of farmers and an effort of educating people about the source of their food.”

The observation tower features LED lights. Dave Andrews, vice president of sales and marketing for Kreider Farms, said that the lighting is programmable. The viewing platform at the top features placards that help to identify the buildings and/or farms that can be seen from that specific point.

Admission to the silo observation platform is included with tours of the dairy farm, but may also be purchased separately after farm tour hours. Andrews said that after-hours admission is by reservation only. Cost is $8. To climb the silo, visitors must be at least 42-inches tall. For more information about Kreider Farms tours, call 665-5039 or e-mail farmtour@kreiderfarms.com.

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

 

(Left to right) PA State Senator Ryan Aument, Hollee Kreider, Ron Kreider, the Kreider Farms mascot, State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and State DCED Secretary Dennis Davin cut the ribbon on the new Kreider Farms silo observation tower.

(Left to right) PA State Senator Ryan Aument, Hollee Kreider, Ron Kreider, the Kreider Farms mascot, State Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding, and State DCED Secretary Dennis Davin cut the ribbon on the new Kreider Farms silo observation tower.

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