State Assists Farmers Voluntarily Changing to Organics

HARRISBURG PA – Consumers, who are increasingly interested in buying more organic foods, are being accommodated by growers and producers in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, and across the state. Pennsylvania currently ranks third in the nation for sales of local organic products, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding boasted Friday (Jan. 13, 2023) at the Pennsylvania Farm Show.

State Assists Farmers Voluntarily Changing to Organics

Redding anticipates the next 12 months will provide even stronger success. “Innovation and partnerships in organic are ensuring we meet the needs of consumers now and well into the future,” he noted, and added “I’m looking forward to continued growth in organic.”

More than 1,000 certified organic farms are located within the state, according to the Agriculture Department. Dozens are found within the TriCounty area. To ensure their continued strength, Redding on Friday announced the distribution of two three-year grant awards totaling about $1.8 million to help Pennsylvania farmers and processors voluntarily transition to growing and producing organic products.

  • Rodale Institute, headquartered in Kutztown PA, was awarded $750,000; and
  • Team Ag of Ephrata PA, in partnership with Pennsylvania Certified Organic of Spring Mills PA and Kitchen Table Consultants of Bala Cynwyd PA, received $1,041,604.
  • They will offer free on-farm technical assistance for Pennsylvania producers and processors looking to gradually change from traditional to federal Department of Agriculture certified organic farms.

By producing more organic products in-state, Redding contended, Pennsylvania farmers can diversify to meet the demands of the rapidly expanding organic market opportunity by diversifying their farm. He said he believes the change will generate greater income, and strengthen Pennsylvania’s “already robust” agriculture industry.

Strawberries photo (top) from Getty Images via Unsplash+, used under license
Vegetables photo at the Farm Show by The Post

Local news from the 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show:

PA Farm Show All About The Kids, and Their Future
Kids were all over, around, and into everything on display at the Pennsylvania Farm Show. That’s exactly what organizers hoped for. The show introduced many to the concept of farming for the first time, possibly with lasting results.

State Assists Farmers Transitioning to Organics
Dozens of certified organic farmers are located in Berks, Chester and Montgomery counties, included in more than 1,000 statewide. Pennsylvania on Friday issued $1.8 million in grant money to help farmers who are interested in certification.

Berks, Chester Groups Earn Urban Agriculture Grants
More than $520,000 in small urban agriculture grants was distributed during the Pennsylvania Farm Show. Among the winners were Berks and Chester counties’ groups helping to increase farming in rooftop containers and vacant plots.