ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Maryland's ag branding program, which seeks to connect consumers with local agricultural products, is getting a reboot.
State Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartendfelder announced Wednesday his department has created a new family of Maryland's Best logos that include the words “fresh” and “local.” Farmers who wish to use either the new or old logos can sign up for the free program here.
“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,” Secretary Bartenfelder said. “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.”
According to the preliminary results of an evaluation of the Maryland's Best program, 86 percent of in-state consumers are more likely to buy food that contains a Maryland's Best logo. Buying local ultimately benefits the state's economy, Bartendfelder points out.
“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,” he said.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture plans to complete its evaluation of Maryland's Best this summer and use the information to further improve its strategies connecting farmers with the market.