OLATHE, Kan. — Fruit and vegetable growers can meet the training requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule at workshops across Kansas, including Feb. 18 in Colby, March 19 in Olathe, and May 29 in Wichita.

Farms subject to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule must have at least one supervisor who has successfully completed specific training requirements, said Londa Nwadike, food safety specialist with K-State Research and Extension and the University of Missouri Extension. The FSMA rule includes standards related to water quality, use of manure and compost, and worker health and hygiene.

For details and registration, visit K-State Research and Extension’s produce safety website.

For adequate planning, advance registration is encouraged. Participants will receive a training certificate and training manual. Lunch is provided. For questions, contact Cal Jamerson, extension produce safety associate at 913-307-7394 or Nwadike at 913-307-7391. Registration is $20, thanks to funding and support from the Kansas Department of Agriculture Produce Safety Program, through funding from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Jamerson is also available to provide individual technical assistance to growers in meeting produce safety requirements.

Dates set and cost-share available for GAP certification

Produce growers who have a USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) audit between Oct. 1, 2019 and Sept. 30, 2020 are eligible for cost-share assistance. Qualifying farm operations can receive up to half the cost of their USDA GAP audit, to a maximum payment of $1700. To assist produce growers in preparing for a GAP audit, K-State Research and Extension is also holding workshops to assist growers in preparing the food safety plan and record keeping documentation required for GAP certification. Workshops will be held in Colby on Feb 19, Olathe on March 20, and Wichita on May 28. Registration and more information is available from the extension produce safety website.

Funding for the cost share and GAPs workshops is from a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant to K-State Research and Extension through the Kansas Department of Agriculture. For more information, visit the produce safety website or contact Nwadike at lnwadike@ksu.edu or 913-307-7391. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis until all available funding is used.

Free microbial water testing

K-State Research and Extension is offering free microbial water testing to Kansas and Missouri produce growers through a grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Growers can bring or ship their water samples on ice to K-State’s labs in either Olathe or Manhattan, Kansas within 24 hours of when the sample was collected. This meets the water testing requirements under FSMA and for GAP certification. For more information, visit the extension produce safety website or contact Nwadike.