HARRISBURG, Pa. — Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding today joined with more than 30 members of Pennsylvania’s organic industry to update them on the department’s progress towards developing the PA Preferred® Organic program and gather feedback from producers, processors, and retailers on how the department can meet the industry’s needs and Governor Wolf’s goal of leading the nation in organic production.
“There is a market at the consumer level for the brand of Pennsylvania; people want local and they want organic,” said Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding. “By marrying these demands with PA Preferred Organic, we’re going to create new markets for PA farmers and become the premier state for organic production.”
Earlier this year, Governor Tom Wolf signed the first-ever Pennsylvania Farm Bill which included $1.6 million to established PA Preferred Organic. Pennsylvania is currently third in the nation for organic and home to more than 1,000 certified organic farms and more than 93,000 acres of certified organic land. The PA Farm Bill enables the department to assist farmers in transitioning to certified organic as well as promote Pennsylvania organic products to consumers.
“The PA Farm Bill is a gamer changer for agriculture in the commonwealth,” said State. Sen. Judy Schwank, minority chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. “The legislation builds on Pennsylvania’s stature in organic farming, and will enhance brand recognition and open doors for marketing our products around the nation. We know consumer demands are changing and we need to be able to help our farmers meet those demands.”
Pennsylvania organic producers can also take advantage of the PA Farm Bill’s Ag Business Development Center resources for creating business plans and management strategies to enhance economic viability; assistance with diversification to reach new markets and increase profitability; and assistance with expansion.
“Governor Wolf is a pioneer, he’s forging a new path with Pennsylvania’s best interest at heart through the PA Farm Bill,” added Redding. “PA Preferred Organic will be transformative for Pennsylvania farmers and consumers alike.”
–Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture