Success Story

Pennsylvania SBDC Agriculture Center of Excellence client receives award

Jersey Shore, PA – Pine Creek Seed Farm, a full-service wholesaler and distributor of a variety of seeds, received the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Eastern PA Family-Owned Small Business of the Year Award for 2024. The award ceremony took place on June 24 at the farm in Jersey Shore, where attendees toured the business location. 

Speakers at the event included Jeff Snyder, Clinton County Commissioner; David Winkleman, Jr., Pine Creek Township supervisor; Russel Redding, Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture; U.S. Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson; Elizabeth Cooper, a representative from U.S. Senator Bob Casey’s office; Brandy Reiter, outreach director for Senator Cris Dush; Ernest Greene, a representative from State Rep. Stephanie Borowicz’s office; Deb Rudy, a representative from State Senator Gene Yaw’s office; Steve Dixel, District Director at the U.S. SBA; Kara Riccioni, Director of Agricultural Business Development at Pennsylvania Small Business Development Centers; and Tim Keohane, Director of the Penn State Small Business Development Center (SBDC). 

Chris McCracken, the owner of Pine Creek Seed Farm, grew the multi-generational family business from a startup to a profitable multi-million-dollar business with 19 employees and a 41% annual growth rate. 

To help grow the business, Pine Creek Seed Farm leveraged services provided by the Penn State SBDC’s Agriculture Center of Excellence.  

“Chris is most deserving for this award and recognition,” said nominator Martin Brill, coordinator of the Agriculture Center of Excellence. “Pine Creek Seed Farm exemplifies the best in small business values and the American entrepreneurial spirit. The company is committed to unexcelled customer service and value-added products for the long-term sustainability of this business.” 

Pine Creek Seed Farm was started in 1932 by Taylor A. Doebler, Sr. The business changed hands and names over the next 70 years before the third generation split the business. Over time, these two businesses were sold to corporate seed companies and the brands were faded out, until Doebler’s great-grandson Chris McCracken re-purchased the businesses in 2020 to become a full-service wholesaler and distributor of a large variety of agricultural seeds, turf seeds, cover crop seeds and wildlife seeds.  

It’s an honor to be named SBA’s Eastern Pennsylvania Family-Owned Small Business of the Year,” said McCracken, owner and president of Pine Creek Seed Farm. “I am a 4th generation seedsman in this family business. I am grateful that I was able purchase the entire facility and built this ag business from scratch, just as my great grandfather did. I see my sons, granddaughter, and twin grandsons in line for subsequent generations to continue this venture which would not have been possible without SBA financing, counseling from Penn State SBDC’s Ag Center for Excellence.” 

The SBDC’s Agriculture Center for Excellence has assisted Pine Creek Farm with both capital acquisition and business growth planning. Brill said he looks forward to seeing the farm continue to grow and prosper. 

“It’s a privilege to recognize the achievements of leading family-owned small businesses like PCSF,” said Steve Dixel, SBA Eastern Pennsylvania Director. “Chris leveraged SBA 7(a) loan programs to form a business at the same facilities his family had three generations prior. SBA and our resource partner, Penn State SBDC, are proud to play a role in helping businesses impact the economy and create good-paying jobs.” 

About the Penn State SBDC’s Agricultural Center of Excellence 

The Pennsylvania SBDC Agriculture Center of Excellence serves agriculture industries across Pennsylvania. A joint initiative with Penn State, Clarion University and The University of Scranton, it helps agriculture businesses sustain operations and stabilize food supply chains affected by the pandemic. Leveraging host institution resources and partnerships, the Center supports agriculture industries through specialized educational programming and consulting services. Funding for the initiative was provided by the SBA and the CARES Act. The Penn State SBDC is a public/private partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development and 15 universities and colleges helping businesses in Centre, Clinton, Lycoming, and Mifflin counties start, grow, and prosper. 

About the U.S. Small Business Administration 

The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow, expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit