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2019 Farm City Banquet honors families at event

From staff reports

BELLEVILLE–Two families were honored at this years Mifflin County Farm City Banquet on Tuesday night at the Belleville Mennonite School. Farm City Week begins Nov. 11 and runs through Nov. 15.

There were two awards presented at the Banquet. A business family award and a farm family award were presented as well.

The business family award was presented to Metzler Forest Products. Metzler Forest Products started in 1986 when one man went into the woods with a chain saw and a log skidder, using hired trucks and haulers, Metzler Forest Products LLC, has grown into an operation with contracts in three states and 80 employees.

Owned by Alan and Jill Metzler, their son Nathan is the General Manager and their son Lucas is the Forest Operations Manager. Today Metzler Forest Products specializes in professional timber harvesting, land clearing, grinding, stump removal, excavating and high quality landscape mulch products.

Their main facility is located along Route 655 between Reedsville and Belleville, Pennsylvania.

Forest management options from Metzler’s start with a plan which leaves a customer’s harvested timberland with a healthier forest, better access to their land and a site that was genuinely respected.

Their ability to deal with Marcellus Shale properties has led them to do business in West Virginia and Maryland. Metzler’s Landscape Center carries trees and shrubs, top soil and compost, stones and sand and grasses, roses, bird baths and fountains, and seven different choices of mulch. The newest part of their operation is supplying kiln dried firewood bundles to “big box” stores. For this they have specially fitted a warehouse to be fire resistant in the Mifflin County Industrial Park.

As reflected on their website, Metzler Forest Products continues to be an important business in Mifflin County, growing both in scope of services provided and employment opportunities to the local and regional community.

The other award presented was the farm family award presented to the Ken Loht Family. The Loht farm was purchased in 1959 by Fern and Ruth Loht. The farm was rented out for the first 28 years. In 1987, Ken and Tina Loht were married and moved into the farmhouse. In 1984 after college, Ken started raising 200 hogs on contract in the old bank barn on the farm. Then in 1990, they built the first 1200 head finishing hog barn. In 1995, they built the second 2160 head fishing barn. To this day they raise approximately 9000 hogs a year for County View Family Farms.

Ken and Tina always had some beef cattle on the farm for personal use. When Noah, Kaleb and Kezia were in 4-H they started showing cattle. Noah and Kaleb purchased their first registered heifers from Orville and Evelyn Heister in 2000. Each year the boys would purchase a heifer, hence the beginning of KNT Beef Farm.

Noah’s herd now consists of 50 cows and calves. In 2017, Noah and Tina Loht moved into the Farmhouse. In 2018, they built a 60- foot by 200-foot barn to house his cattle. The farm consists of approximately 120 acres and is located in Decatur Township of rural McClure.

Other guest who came and spoke at the meeting included, Grace VanSciver and Colleen Keller, who are the Fair Queens. The Dairy Princess, Naomi Diehl addressed the crowd and the Mifflin County Farm Bureau President, Tim Goss provided closing comments on the event. There were also door prizes and winners of the Pumpkin Painting Contest were announced.