Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement: Voluntary Food Safety for Growers

Sep. 28, 2012

From The Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association:

After nearly one year of effort by OPGMA and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, Governor Kasich signed senate Bill 309 on September 26.  Sponsored by Senator Cliff Hite, R-Findlay, the new law creates voluntary agricultural marketing agreements in the state.  The agreement will enable farmers to organize voluntary marketing initiatives for products like fruits, vegetables, and other commodities.  The agreements will be self-supporting through fees paid by participants.  The Ohio Department of Agriculture will assist in estasblishing the agreements.

For three years, OPGMA has been devleoping a first-of-its-kind marketing program for fruit and vegetables with a core purpose of providing safer produce products to retailers and directly to consumers.  The Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement is a grassroots effort led by Ohio's agriculture community to take charge of food safety in our state and nation. It is a statewide network of farmers, standards and inspections that are realistic, sensible, and affordable.  

The voluntary program provides a three-tier system that lets you pick your place in Ohio agriculture, whether you are servicing a farmers market, auction, organic farmer, small roadside stand, co-op or selling to a market chain or nationwide broker.  Farms are already participating and enrollment is a vailable now to any producer and market.  Over the coming months OPGMA will seek format recognition from the agriculture department under the new law.

OPGMA thanks the staff and leadership of the Farm Bureau, and Senator Hite for their support and efforts in helping to secure the passage of the Bill. For more information about the Ohio Produce Marketing Agreement, visit opma.us.