The legislation was backed by Ohio Farm Bureau and the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association. Ohio Farm Bureau Director of Legislative Relations Spencer Waugh said marketing agreements will be initiated by farmers to help provide stable markets for agricultural products such as dairy, fruits, vegetables and other specialty crops.
These agreements will be voluntary and can help maintain product quality, standardize packages or containers and authorize advertising, research or market development. Each agreement can be tailored to the individual industry’s marketing needs.
“Voluntary agreements will be for farmers and managed by farmers, but the agreements will be established through the Ohio Department of Agriculture,” Waugh said. “Agreements will be self-supporting through fees paid by participants in each voluntary agreement and will have no cost to the state.”
OPGMA plans to be one of the first groups to submit a proposed agricultural marketing agreement that will empower Ohio’s produce growers to protect and promote Ohio produce farmers through a food safety program that will allow them to meet anticipated federal requirements and standards.
“We wanted to be proactive in giving producers a channel through which to get to the level of competency in regards to food safety that the public was demanding,” said Lisa Schacht, OPGMA president.