Lancaster-Berks Edition
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Berks and Lancaster Counties Set Agricultural Trends

Verdant and vibrant Berks and Lancaster counties have a long-running history of agriculture and family farming. Increasing numbers of Pennsylvania farmers are looking toward organic methods to meet the shifts in cultural expectations and dietary needs of consumers. Trends covering the evolution of agriculture in the region have revealed statistics relevant to consumers and producers alike. Gathered from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and Rodale Institute, the following list is just a start.  

  • Pennsylvania is second only to California in the sales of organic agricultural products.

  • Sales of certified organic commodities doubled in Pennsylvania from 2015 to 2016 to $660 million. 

  • One in four of all Pennsylvania organic operations are found in Lancaster County. 

  • Governor Tom Wolfe’s proposal for the historic Pennsylvania Farm Bill includes an initiative to make Pennsylvania the nation’s leading organic state. 

  • Rodale Institute, in partnership with the Department of Agriculture, is offering free in-depth consulting services for Pennsylvania farmers wishing to transition to organic. 

  • More than a third of all farmers in Lancaster and Berks counties are female. 

  • 99 percent of Lancaster County’s farms and 97 percent of Berks County’s farms are family farms.

  • Pennsylvania is #1 in the nation for direct-to-consumer fresh food sales, ensuring more dollars are going directly to farmers. 80 percent of PA farms reported selling all of their directly marketed food within a 100-mile radius of their farm. 

  • In 2016, the increase in sales of organic commodities increased by 23 percent from the year prior, along with the number of certified organic farms (11 percent increase), and the number of certified organic acres increased 15 percent to 5 million. 

  • Pennsylvania is fourth in line for the number of organic farms (803) following California (2,713), Wisconsin (1,276) and New York (1,059). 

To read more from the most recent census conducted by the National Agriculture Statistics Service, visit NASS.USDA.gov. For information about the Rodale partnership, visit RodaleInstitute.org. For information on Pennsylvania farming, visit PASAFarming.org.

 

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