John Evans Reports…06-03-11

Representative John Evans


Legislation Seeks to Increase Use of Locally Grown PA Products

By Rep. John Evans (R-Erie/Crawford)

To help encourage locally grown products and further enhance the agriculture industry in the Commonwealth, the House passed legislation in late May that would allow the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) to better promote its PA Preferred® program.

With agriculture as the state’s No. 1 industry, Pennsylvania-grown products are also known worldwide for their quality. Since 2004, when the PA Preferred® program began, products grown and produced in Pennsylvania have included the PA Preferred® logo. This allows consumers to quickly identify products grown and produced within our borders.

Not only does this program help local farmers, agri-business, farm markets, grocery stores, restaurants, retail specialty shops, wineries and other outlets, but this directly responds to increased consumer demand for locally grown products.

The PA Preferred® logo is displayed on product packaging, signage and other promotional material in the grocery store aisle, at farm markets, in restaurants, and at other wholesale and retail outlets where Pennsylvania products are proudly offered.

Under the new legislation, the Pennsylvania Preferred Act would require the PDA to acquire, register, license, protect and promote the PA Preferred® trademark for use in the sale and promotion of Pennsylvania-produced products. This would help to ensure the stability of the program’s infrastructure and encourage additional private-sector investment through new and existing licensees.

Just to show you how important local agriculture is, from 2002 to 2007, Erie County boasted a 25 percent increase in the number of farms, amounting to 173,125 acres. The value of products in Erie County alone valued $71.3 million at market, an increase of 11 percent over the previous five years. In addition, Erie County ranks No. 1 among Pennsylvania counties in terms of the number of grapes grown statewide.

It is important to point out that participation in the program is completely voluntary. There would be no taxes or mandates involved in the PA Preferred® trademark licensing program.

We believe that through this licensing program, the PA Preferred® program will grow and encourage more licensees to promote locally grown and produced Pennsylvania commodities under the PA Preferred® label.

House Bill 1424 now moves to the state Senate for its consideration.

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John Evans Reports is a weekly editorial from Rep. John Evans, 5th District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives, and published by EdinboroOnline.com in an effort to keep the citizens of the area informed on matters of importance to them. Rep. Evans can be reached for further comment or input at his Edinboro Pa office 814-734-2793, Girard, Pa office 814-774-2892, or his Linesville, PA office 814-683-5550. www.repevans.com

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