Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

Mathew A. Meals
Partner, R Valley Farms

Newville, Pennsylvania
Farm Credit Affiliation
Mathew A.'s Perspective

After studying ag engineering and business in college and then working as a John Deere service technician, Mathew Meal’s path to full-time farming began in 2004 with the purchase of 53 forage crop acres. Five years later, he partnered with an experienced farmer to form R Valley Farms, a 750-acre farm that produces wheat, barley, corn, soybeans and forage. It also supports 50 cow-calf pairs and a small feedlot, with its all-natural beef sold fresh to local buyers through its retail store and frozen to private customers.

Mathew was appointed Pennsylvania’s Deputy Secretary of Animal Agriculture, and from 2011-2015 he represented the Department of Agriculture and the Secretary of Agriculture with the Bureau of Animal Health, the Horse and Harness Racing Commission, the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission and the Livestock Evaluation Center, as well as providing oversight to the farms owned by the Department. As Deputy Secretary, Mathew and the state veterinarian coordinated efforts to revitalize the Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission. Launched in the 1980s after the state’s first avian influenza (AI) outbreak, the Commission, after developing a coordinated lab system for animal disease diagnosis and intervention, sat idle. Under Mathew’s leadership, an action plan was developed to prepare the Commission and the state for another potential AI outbreak.

“Being able to serve, educate, feed and be a positive influence to people is what inspires me,” says Mathew. “In anything I do, I look for how it can positively impact those around me. I want to work toward impacting people in a positive way that allows them to better themselves and others around them, and provide my family with the same opportunities that I had and more.”

The former chairman of both the Pennsylvania and American Farm Bureau Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee, Mathew also spent two years traveling the country sharing his beginning farmer story with other young farmers. He encouraged his peers to think outside of the box when pursuing their farming dreams.

“I believe agriculture is and will always be the driver of our society, because agriculture provides our steady food source, products to shelter us and works to protect our water sources,” he says. “I also believe we will continue to see change and advancement in agriculture. As populations continue to grow and resources continue to decline, agriculture will depend on change, technology and people to meet the demands of those that we feed.”

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