Free training for Missouri produce growers set for early 2022
Workshops can help growers meet federal requirements.
- Published: Monday, Nov. 29, 2021
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Free online and in-person workshops in early 2022 will help Missouri growers sell safer produce while opening new opportunities to market their goods, said University of Missouri Extension food safety specialist Londa Nwadike.
Some larger Missouri fruit, vegetable and herb growers are required to attend training under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), Nwadike said. “But any Missouri grower who is selling produce will benefit from attending these training sessions because they will be able to sell safer produce. Growers will also have a chance to meet other growers and learn from each other.”
The workshops cover practical, risk-based assessments for growing safer produce, said Nwadike, who holds a joint extension appointment with MU and Kansas State University.
FSMA produce safety grower training:
- 1-5 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 25, and Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022. Online. Details and registration.
- 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, 2022. Olathe, Kan. Details and registration.
MU Extension and KSU Extension also offer FSMA produce safety annual supervisor training:
- 2-4 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 18, 2022. Olathe, Kan. Details and registration.
- 2-4 p.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. Online. Details and registration.
“Some produce buyers – grocery stores, distributors, schools and others – may require that the produce they purchase is certified according to Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs),” Nwadike said. “Therefore, if a grower wants to sell to those markets, which are usually more lucrative and stable, they will need to be GAP-certified.”
KSU and MU Extension are offering online training to assist growers with GAP certification and developing a food safety plan 2-4 p.m. Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. Details and registration. This training costs $5.
All other training sessions are free. For more information, visit ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/produce.
MU Extension has provided produce safety training in Missouri since at least 2013, Nwadike said. “These trainings have enabled produce growers to comply with federal produce safety regulations. They have also enabled Missouri growers to sell safer produce, hopefully reducing the number of foodborne illnesses caused by Missouri-grown produce.”
Nwadike said MU Extension continues to provide Missouri produce growers free microbial water testing. Visit ksre.k-state.edu/foodsafety/produce/testing.html for details. This testing is available through a grant from USDA.
The Missouri Farmers Union also provides scholarships to cover the remaining costs of training. For more information about cost-share funding for GAP certification, contact Nwadike at [email protected].
The Missouri Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are key partners in MU Extension’s produce safety outreach, enabling the state’s extension service to provide produce safety technical assistance and on-farm visits.
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