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Pennsylvania aims to become top organic producing state in country

KYW Radio Philadelphia logo KYW Radio Philadelphia 6/16/2019 Paul Kurtz
a pile of fruit © Provided by Entercom Radio, LLC PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Did you know that Pennsylvania is the second biggest producer of organic food in America, behind California? The Wolf administration is now pushing for the Commonwealth to become number one.

There are two items in the pipeline that could bring more organic food to your supermarket.

First, the Wolf administration's proposed farm bill provides nearly $2 million in funding for programs that encourage farmers to go organic. And second, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is rolling out its own organic pilot program.

Lehigh Valley turkey farmer David Jaindl will serve as the test subject. He raises about 750,000 turkeys on his Lehigh Valley farm, 60,000 of which are certified organic. He's going to try growing his own grain.

"We outsource all the organic grains that we feed those turkeys and it's very expensive," Jaindl explained. "So it was a natural progression for us to consider a pilot program this year which is, we're growing 100 acres of soybeans and 100 acres of corn."

a close up of a building: Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio © Provided by Entercom Radio, LLC Paul Kurtz/KYW Newsradio

The Agriculture Department is also partnering with the Rodale Institute for this experiment.

Rodale Farm Director Jeff Moyer says their world-renowned experts will serve as consultants.

"Taking our message, our mission, our science out to farmers," Moyer said, "literally their kitchen table to help walk them through the process to becoming certified organic so that they can take advantage both of the pieces in the farm bill but also in the marketplace."

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