Ag Committee approves potato packaging bill

The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee today approved legislation that would peel away an unnecessary regulatory burden imposed on Pennsylvania’s potato farmers, according to Committee Chairman Senator Elder Vogel.

Currently, state law requires potatoes be packaged in containers for sale weighing 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 100 and multiples of 100 pounds. Senate Bill 1131, introduced by Senator David Argall, would allow potato packagers to package potatoes without any weight restrictions.

“This is good commonsense legislation that will benefit Pennsylvania’s potato producers. There is no logical reason to restrict the packaging of potatoes to specific weights,” said Senator Vogel. “We should be working with Pennsylvania’s farmers to promote our fine agricultural products, not enforcing useless regulations.”

Senator Vogel said the premise behind Senate Bill 1131 is similar to that of Act 31 of 2010, legislation he introduced that stopped the Department of Agriculture from citing non-profit community groups such as volunteer fire companies, churches, and school booster clubs for selling non-hazardous home-baked food at fundraisers.  “I also believe that the Commonwealth could make better use of its resources than to hinder the livelihood of our farmers,” Senator Vogel said.  “It’s time to restore a little common sense to government.”

According to the Pennsylvania Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pennsylvania’s acreage of fall potatoes harvested in 2012 totaled 8,600 acres, up 800 acres from 2011. The value of production was $36.2 million up from $24.5 million in 2011.

CONTACT:

Mike Rader
(717) 787-3076