Maryland Department of Agriculture Aims to Connect Farmers
Revamped Maryland’s Best strives to make the connection
between farms, stores clear
By PRESS OFFICER
Office of the Lt. Governor
ANNAPOLIS, MD – Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA)
Secretary Joe Bartenfelder announced that his agency is revamping the state ag
branding program, Maryland’s Best. The program started in 2001 to connect consumers
with local agricultural products.
MDA has created a family of Maryland’s Best
logos, including a new version that adds the words “Fresh” and “Local.” The
current Maryland’s Best logo will remain available for use. All are
available in color and black and white. Farmers who wish to use any of the
logos will be asked to sign up with the free program at the Department. Click here
to sign up.
“It is our hope that farmers see the value in using these
logos on their produce boxes and in farm stands, and that grocery store chains
and other food distributors will ask to use the logos for their Maryland
products,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “There
are tremendous opportunities for our farmers to benefit from the growing
consumer demand for local agricultural products. We need to do all we can at
MDA to help our farmers capture those opportunities.”
Preliminary results of an ongoing evaluation of the Maryland’s Best
program by MDA show that 86 percent of in-state consumers surveyed are more
likely to buy food labeled with the Maryland’s Best logo.
“We are stepping up our work with this program to emphasize
to consumers that agricultural products labeled with ‘Maryland’s Best’ are
local,” said Secretary Bartenfelder. “Every
dollar spent on local agricultural products contributes to the economic health
of the community, keeps our land in farming, and helps to support a growing
future for Maryland agriculture.”
Previous research conducted by MDA has indicated that 78
percent of Marylanders are more likely to buy produce when it is clearly
labeled as having been grown in the state.
MDA will complete its evaluation of Maryland’s Best
this summer and use that information to further improve its strategies to
connect farmers with market. The evaluation, conducted by Chevy Chase based ag
marketing consultant Mark Newman includes surveys of consumers, farmers and
food distributors. It also includes interviews with farmers and buyers.
Farmers, grocery stores, restaurants and food
distributors who would like to use the Maryland’s
Best logo and work with MDA to promote their Maryland products should contact
MDA’s Marketing office, (410) 841-5779.
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