A 76-acre plot in Chanceford Township will soon house a 75,600-chicken farm, with the certified organic meat being sold to a supplier of Purdue chicken.

Lancaster County residents Lloyd and Judy Groff purchased the farm at 2906 Dettinger Road in January. They plan to clear about five acres of the wooded lot, which is certified organic, to build two 63-by-600-foot chicken barns, Lloyd Groff said.

The couple, along with a son and daughter-in-law, will also build a house on the lot so they can live and work at the farm, Groff said. The family members will be the farm's only employees unless there's a substantial future expansion into organic beef, goats, or other meats, he said.

The 54-year-old currently works as a maintenance electrician; he grew up on a chicken farm and had been looking to buy a farm in Lancaster, but it was too expensive, he said.

The operation near Brogue will cost about $1.3 million, and Groff said the project wouldn't have been possible without the help of $509,000 in special financing through the York County Industrial Development Authority.

In the Next Generation Farm Loan Program, which county commissioners approved for the couple Wednesday, federal tax-exempt mortgage financing is used to reduce a farmer's interest rate for capital purchases. The county acts only as a conduit for the private-sector debt; it doesn't assume risk and the loan isn't reflected in its credit, said Kenetha Hansen, vice president of economic development at the York County Economic Development Corporation.

Different farming: Groff said township officials are still reviewing permits for the two barns, but he's hoping to have township approval in time to break ground by June or July.

The farm could be fully operational in August or September, he said.

Chickens at the farm will eat only organic foods such as corn, soy, sunflower seeds, Groff said. They'll be free to roam on the floor of the barns instead of staying in cages, he said.

There will be windows in the barns, and doors to allow the chickens to roam in an outdoor space of equal size to each of the barns, 63-by-600 foot, Groff said.

— Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.