MDA Launching Farmers’ Market Price Reporting Pilot Program
Maryland working with USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service
ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Marketing Service, will begin a pilot project reporting the prices of products sold at five farmers markets in the state. MDA is also now reporting prices from livestock auctions in Western Maryland and grain prices from around the state under the same agreement with the federal Market News Reporting Service.
“Publishing reliable reports about the prices of crops being sold through the state’s many marketing channels is important information for our farmers and consumers,” said Maryland Agriculture Secretary Joe Bartenfelder. “We’re glad to be working with USDA as they develop programs to provide basic price reporting from farmers markets, a major market for produce farmers.”
The farmers’ market price reporting program will give a snapshot of the retail prices of local produce and other food products. The information gleaned through this program may be used by the USDA Risk Management Agency as it improves crop insurance products for produce farmers. Currently, there is little reliable data on sale prices for produce sold through retail farmers markets.
Farmers’ market managers at five markets in four jurisdictions — Baltimore city, Anne Arundel, Prince George’s and Alleghany counties — will gather information for weekly reports. Other markets throughout the state will be added as the pilot program progresses. Farmers whose prices are included will not be identified and their information is confidential. Each market will have its average prices reported.
The farmers’ market price reporting program will begin in June. Prices will be posted on MDA’s Maryland’s Best web site, www.marylandsbest.net, under the Market News tab.
Reports now available on the Maryland’s Best web site include prices paid for grain and soybeans in the state, and livestock auction reports from Friends Livestock Auction in Garrett County and Four States Livestock Auction in Washington County. These reports are also distributed to agricultural newspapers in the state.
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