Pashinski and Madden introduce legislation to make PA Preferred Organic Program permanent

HARRISBURG, March 9 – State Reps. Maureen Madden, D-Monroe, and Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, introduced legislation this week to make the PA Preferred Organic Program a permanent trademark in Pennsylvania.

Launched as a Pennsylvania Farm Bill initiative in 2019, the PA Preferred Organic Program has been used to increase market opportunities for Pennsylvania farmers.

Madden noted that the program supports the farmers and producers who have made Pa the top producing state for organic mushrooms as well as livestock and poultry – and #3 overall nationally in organic agriculture sales.

“Pocono Organics in Monroe County provides not only a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables to purchase but has a litany of programs for children of all ages, veterans and adults,” Madden said.

“PA Preferred Organic businesses grow all foods under the sun that are healthy for us, and that alone should be a reason to make the program permanent in our commonwealth.”

Pashinski, who has served as the Democratic chair of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee since 2017, said Pennsylvania has 1,125 certified organic farms and 104,805 acres of certified organic land in the state.

“Pennsylvanians care about what they eat and are looking for nutrition, quality, quantity and variety in the organic foods at their markets and grocery stores,” Pashinski said. “The Pa Preferred Organic Program allows consumers to know that they’re purchasing the highest quality products grown in PA, by PA Farmers, for PA families – that’s why it’s PA Preferred! By making Pennsylvania-produced organic products even more readily available and identifiable, our farmers can continue benefiting from this rapidly expanding market.”

Pashinski noted the program would not compete with other state producers but instead further enhance Pennsylvania’s program and create opportunities for residents to more easily identify and purchase locally grown foods.

The bill, introduced with bipartisan support as H.B. 157, has been referred to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.