WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Pennsylvania U.S. Senator John Fetterman led a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to consider Pennsylvania producers’ priorities when finalizing the “National Organic Program: Market Development for Mushrooms and Pet Food” proposed rule.

Specifically, the letter highlighted the concerns that Pennsylvania’s mushroom growers have about USDA’s decision to create an entirely new standard for organic mushrooms instead of including the organic mushroom standard as part of the existing organic crop standard. Senator Fetterman was joined on the letter by Pennsylvania Representatives Dan Meuser (R-PA) and Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA). The members expressed the importance of PA mushroom growers’ comments because of the commonwealth’s outsized role in mushroom production.

The letter reads in part: “This rule is well-intentioned, but our offices have heard from constituents with concerns about the rule. It’s imperative that PA mushroom growers’ voices are heard to improve the final rule that AMS issues. We represent all or part of Pennsylvania, which is known in the agricultural community as the ‘Mushroom Capital of the World.’ Southeastern PA represents the vast majority of U.S. mushroom production across all 50 states. Because of this relevance to our Commonwealth, it’s crucial that you review PA mushroom growers’ comments with this importance in mind when updating the final rule.”

The full letter to AMS can be found here.

Pennsylvania produces more mushrooms than any state in the country, with over half of U.S. mushroom production taking place in Chester County, which is often referred to as the “Mushroom Capital of the World.” The mushroom industry is a strong economic driver in Pennsylvania. The industry supports 8,600 jobs and has a total economic footprint that exceeds $1.1 billion. Last year, Senators John Fetterman and Bob Casey (D-PA), along with Representatives Houlahan and Meuser, introduced the Protecting Mushroom Farmers Act, which would require the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct a study on crop insurance for mushroom farmers, a critical issue for many Pennsylvania mushroom producers. Expanding these protections would support mushroom growers as they face challenges like changing weather patterns and increasing pressure from mushroom pests.