Maryland Department of Agriculture Aims to Connect Farmers with Markets
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, Marylands Best. The program started in 2001 to connect consumers with local agricultural products.

MDA has created a family of Marylands Best logos, including a new version that adds the words Fresh and Local. The current Marylands 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 Marylands Best program by MDA show that 86 percent of in-state consumers surveyed are more likely to buy food labeled with the Marylands Best logo.

We are stepping up our work with this program to emphasize to consumers that agricultural products labeled with Marylands 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 Marylands 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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