Pennsylvania House Passes Bill to Create PA Preferred Organic Trademark

PA state capitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

PENNSYLVANIA — Yesterday, the House passed legislation introduced by state Reps. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, and Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne. The bill creates a PA Preferred Organic trademark, certifying organic products from Pennsylvania, helping both small and large-scale producers to build trust with consumers.

House Bill 157 would create a PA Preferred Organic logo, enhancing the PA Preferred Organic Program and helping consumers identify organic products grown and produced by Pennsylvania’s farmers. The logo would be a guarantee of the quality of organic products and their strict adherence to industry standards.

The PA Preferred Organic Program was launched as a Pennsylvania Farm Bill initiative in 2019 to increase market opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers, promote their organic products, and offer support for their agricultural practices. By extending the PA Preferred program to the organic industry, consumers will now have a clearer picture of the origin, quality, and production standards of their food.

House Bill 157 goes even further by authorizing and requiring the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to develop a program logo as well as rename the PA Preferred restricted account to include funds for PA Preferred Organic and would authorize grants from that account. As a result, the state of Pennsylvania will be supporting organic farming and better connecting farmers and consumers alike.

Pashinski, who has served as the Democratic chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee since 2017, noted that PA is No. 3 overall nationally in organic agriculture sales.

“Creating an easily identifiable PA Preferred Brand logo for PA-made organic products is a win for Pennsylvania’s farmers and producers as well as our consumers who know that label means their purchase was grown in PA, by PA Farmers, for PA families,” Pashinski said. “Pennsylvanians should be proud that their commonwealth is a national leader in organic agriculture sales, research, and farmer training thanks to organizations like the Rodale Institute. By making Pennsylvania-produced organic products more identifiable, our farmers would continue benefiting from this rapidly expanding market and industry. I want to thank all my colleagues who helped pass this bill out of the House of Representatives. This legislation, along with other initiatives and proposals like Governor Shapiro’s Center for Organic Excellence in the 2023-24 PA Budget, are critical to continuing to grow this important industry.”

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“Having observed and enjoyed the success of Pocono Organics in Monroe County for some time now, I know that establishing a PA Preferred Organic trademark and making this program a permanent fixture in our commonwealth would be the right move, and today’s House vote proves it,” Madden said. “Pocono Organics is just one of many terrific examples of promoting locally grown fruits and vegetables while also offering programs for members of the community. I am incredibly grateful to the tenacity and goodwill of my colleague Representative Pashinski, and the bipartisan work in getting this bill across the finish line.”

The sponsors of the bill underscored that it won’t be in competition with other state producers. Instead, it’ll bolster Pennsylvania’s program, facilitating residents to identify and buy locally grown foods with ease. The legislation will now be forwarded to the Senate for approval, followed by Governor Josh Shapiro’s review before being signed into law.

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