Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Erick J. Coolidge
Farmer and County Commissioner

Category
Location
Wellsboro, Pennsylvania
Farm Credit Affiliation
AgChoice
Erick's Perspective

A lifelong successful dairy farmer, Erick Coolidge has served as a county commissioner in rural Pennsylvania, overseeing all aspects of county government and successfully turning around the county’s financial position.

When Erick began his tenure in 1996, he inherited an $8 million deficit. Today, the county has a balanced budget, with no tax increases implemented in the last six years. Thanks to a non-budgeted oil and gas impact fee, they have reinvested $16 million over five years in various capital improvements, including an enhanced prison, regional emergency management system (EMS), a new hangar at the airport and historical document storage facility.

A six-term commissioner, Erick represents Pennsylvania on the National Association of Counties and serves on the agriculture committee and as a member of the Rural Action Caucus. A past President and Board Chairman of the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania, he was recognized by his peers as Commissioner of the Year in 2008 for his years of service.

With his wife and sons, Erick runs a 700-acre, 240-head operation, Le-Ma-Re farm. The farm was first selected as a Dairy of Distinction Farm in 1990, an honor it has since received annually. The farm has also been recognized as a Century Farm settled in the early 1840s. In 2010, the family received the Pride in Dairylea Award, one of only three of the cooperative’s 3,000 members to earn this distinction.

“Our son represents five generations of production agriculture in Coolidge Hallow, and farming is our way of life,” Erick says. “I hope to have shared with my family while working the land with the animals to pass the choice on to the sixth generation.”

Reflecting on his years of dairy industry service, Erick is most proud of his accomplishments as vice-chairman of the Dairy Industry Advisory Council. He was appointed to that position by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack on the recommendation of six congressmen. The council of 17 brought together a diverse cross-section of the U.S. dairy industry to determine common and inclusive issues as they relate to dairy policy recommendations. Erick also is a past president of the Center for Dairy Excellence and leads committees of the Pennsylvania Conservation Board and Wellsboro Electric Company.

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Tags

Policy, Dairy