Nov 6, 2023
PA Preferred program adds organic label
Pennsylvania has a new brand for all organic agricultural products.
The state is expanding the PA Preferred program to include PA Preferred Organic. Gov. Josh Shapiro signed House Bill 157 in early November, establishing the new label. Products with the label will meet both USDA National Organic Program standards and the PA Preferred program’s rigorous standards for goods grown in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania’s agriculture sector contributes $132 billion dollars a year to the state’s economy, according to a news release. The new program builds on Gov. Shapiro’s investments in organic agriculture through the Pennsylvania Farm Bill and the creation of the new Organic Center of Excellence through the 2023-24 budget, according to a news release.
“Products that earn the PA Preferred Organic brand will give consumers confidence they are getting a quality product that meets the high standards they expect,” Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in the release.
Pennsylvania is third in the nation in organic sales with $1.09 billion annually, a 47% increase in only two years. One of only four states with more than 1,000 certified organic farms, Pennsylvania ranks number one nationally in sales of organic livestock, poultry, and mushrooms, according to the release.
“House Bill 157 will help Pennsylvania continue to be a national leader in organic agriculture sales, research and farmer training thanks to the Department of Agriculture and organizations like the Rodale Institute,” state representative Eddie Day Pashinski, the bill’s prime sponsor, said in the release. “I want to thank Gov. Shapiro, his administration, my colleagues and our staff for their strong support of agriculture in Pennsylvania and their commitment to helping our farmers benefit from the rapidly expanding organics market.”
Among agriculture investments in the Shapiro administration budget for 2023-24 is $1 million to create an Organic Center of Excellence to empower and support organic farmers and businesses, according to the release. The center will support the department’s food safety lab in testing products to uphold product integrity and increase consumer confidence. The department will be recruiting a recruiting an advisory board to direct the center’s work in the coming months.
Organic farmers and those seeking to become certified organic can find information about financial and technical assistance available for meeting standards and promoting their products through the PA Preferred Organic Initiative at agriculture.pa.gov.
The new design for the organic labels have not been designed, but they will likely be similar to the PA Preferred labels.