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October 24, 2013

Potato packaging bill approved

NEW CASTLE — A state Senate committee has approved legislation that would peel away a regulatory burden on Pennsylvania’s potato farmers.

Currently, state law requires potatoes to be packaged in containers for sale weighing 3, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 50, 100 and multiples of 100 pounds.

Senate Bill 1131, introduced by Sen. David Argall, would allow potato packagers to package potatoes without any weight restrictions.

“This is good commonsense legislation that will benefit Pennsylvania’s potato producers,” said Sen. Elder Vogel, chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, which reported out the bill.

“There is no logical reason to restrict the packaging of potatoes to specific weights. We should be working with Pennsylvania’s farmers to promote our fine agricultural products, not enforcing useless regulations.”

The bill goes to the full Senate for consideration.

According to the Pennsylvania Field Office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Pennsylvania's harvesting of fall potatoes in 2012 totaled 8,600 acres, up 800 acres from 2011. The value of production in 2012 was $36.2 million, up from $24.5 million in 2011.

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