Shapiro signs bill to make Pa. Preferred Organic label permanent

In 2021, Pennsylvania farms produced and sold $1.09 billion in organic commodities, according to USDA data

By: - November 1, 2023 5:40 pm

(USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.)

Pennsylvania’s Preferred Organic trademark program is here to stay after Gov. Josh Shapiro signed a bill making the designation permanent this week.

House Bill 157, sponsored by state Reps. Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Luzerne) and Maureen Madden (D-Monroe) to permanently establish the PA Preferred Organic label was signed into law by Shapiro on Wednesday. 

The legislation attempts to increase brand recognition and bolster marketing for the Commonwealth’s organic farmers.

“Pennsylvanians are increasingly seeking a greater quantity and variety of organic foods at their markets and groceries,” Pashinski said. “By making Pennsylvania-produced organic products easily identifiable and encouraging our farmers to produce more organic products in-state, Pennsylvania farmers can continue to benefit from this rapidly expanding market.”

Established in 2019 as part of the Pennsylvania Farm Bill, the PA Preferred Organic Program was part of efforts to help Pennsylvania farmers increase and diversify their income.

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“Here’s something that has proven to work well since the initial program launched in 2019, and it clearly has broad, bipartisan support,” Madden said of the bill. “Establishing a PA Preferred Organic trademark and making this program a permanent fixture in Pennsylvania is absolutely the right thing to do, and I again applaud the great work by my colleague, Rep. Pashinski, as well as all the legislators, staff and advocates who worked so hard to get this great bill across the finish line.”

Organic farming operations have nearly tripled in the Commonwealth over the last decade, increasing to 1,125 farms in 2021 as demand for organically grown food continues to grow. 

In 2021, Pennsylvania farms produced and sold $1.09 billion in organic commodities, according to United States Department of Agriculture data. That figure is a 48% increase from 2019 — the last time the USDA organics survey was conducted. 

The top organic commodities in Pennsylvania as of 2021 were livestock and poultry, generating $730 million in sales, and mushrooms, generating $95.4 million.

While the Department of Agriculture has yet to comment on the bill’s passage, it has previously supported a different iteration of the bill that died during the 2021 legislative session.

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.