WOOSTER, Ohio — Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program is again hosting training sessions on Good Agricultural Practices for Ohio’s fruit and vegetable producers.
“This year’s program is very similar to the 2014 program,” said Lindsey Hoover, the program’s coordinator. The program is a combined effort of Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, the outreach and research arms of the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
New this year is information on the Proposed Supplemental Rule in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, which is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register in October, Hoover said. The proposal includes revisions in what will be required for water quality and testing, manure and compost application, and wildlife intrusion.
The revisions are still in the proposal stage and are subject to further change, Hoover said, but participants will learn the newest information available at the time of the classes.
Classes typically run 2.5 to three hours, Hoover said. Participants will receive a three-ring binder with Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) templates and record-keeping templates, presentation handouts, and a certificate of participation.
Preregistration a week beforehand is required for most classes. It's not required for those labeled as “no-technology” sessions, which are designed for members of the Amish, Mennonite or Plain sect communities, but are open to all. Classes may be cancelled if fewer than 10 people preregister, Hoover said.
Sessions are $20 per person, a discounted fee made possible through a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture. More sessions may be scheduled, but the funding that subsidizes registration fee expires in June.
To register for a class and to see an updated schedule, go to “Upcoming Events” at producesafety.osu.edu, where registration forms can be downloaded.
In addition, Hoover said, the Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program is planning free Agricultural Water Quality and Testing Workshops for fruit and vegetable growers. During those sessions, presenters will discuss the currently proposed water quality and testing standards in the FSMA's Supplemental Rule in greater detail, the science behind water samples and how to read test results, and a hands-on demonstration focused on proper water sample collection performed by a local laboratory representative.
“Participants who attend the water workshops will receive a discount on a water test from the participating laboratory, free consultation from a local laboratory representative, and take-home materials to prepare for successful water sample collection,” Hoover said.
The first workshop was held during the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association on Jan. 20. Another is scheduled for March 30, 1-4 p.m., in Wooster, after a GAPs training session. Additional water workshops are planned; see producesafety.osu.edu for updates.
Sessions scheduled currently are:
- Holmes County Training: Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m., Mt. Hope Auction Barn, new facility, 8076 Ohio 241, Mt. Hope, 44660. No technology will be used during this presentation. No preregistration required.
- Henry/Fulton County Training, Feb. 26, 9 a.m.-noon, Fulton County Extension Office, 8770 State Route 108, Suite A, Wauseon, 43567. Preregistration required by Feb. 19.
- Lucas County Training, Feb. 26, 1-4 p.m., Toledo Botanical Gardens Conference Center, 5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo, 43615. Preregistration required by Feb. 19.
- Licking County/Granville Farmers Market, March 3, 1-4 p.m., location to be determined. Preregistration required by Feb. 24.
- Fairfield County Training, March 3, 6-9 p.m., Fairfield County Extension Office, 831 College Ave, Suite D, Lancaster, 43130. Preregistration required by Feb. 24.
- Farmers Market Management Conference, March 5, 1-4 p.m., Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin, 43017. Preregistration not required.
- Knox County Training, March 12, 6-9 p.m., location to be determined. Preregistration required by March 5.
- Muskingum and Surrounding Counties Training, March 17, 1-4 p.m., session repeated at 6-9 p.m., Muskingum County Business Incubator (MCBI), 2725 Pinkerton Road, Zanesville, 43701. Preregistration required by March 10.
- Wayne County Training, March 30, 9 a.m.-noon, Fisher Auditorium, north end, at OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, 44691. Preregistration required by March 23. A free water testing workshop will follow at 1-4 p.m.
- Holmes County Training, April 7, 1-4 p.m., Mt. Hope Auction Barn, new facility, 8076 Ohio 241, Mt. Hope, 44660. No technology will be used during this presentation. No preregistration required.
- Cuyahoga County Training, April 20, 6-9 p.m., Cuyahoga County Extension Office, 5320 Stanard Ave., Cleveland, 44103. Preregistration required by April 13.
- Monroe/Belmont County Training, April 21, noon-3 p.m., Somerton Fire House, 55717 Washington St., Barnesville, 43713. Preregistration required by April 14.
- Guernsey/Noble County Training, April 21, 6-9 p.m., Guernsey County Extension Office, 335-B Old National Road, Old Washington, 43768. Preregistration required by April 14.
- Athens County Training, April 23, 1-4 p.m., Athens County Extension Office, 280 West Union Street, Athens, 45701. Preregistration required by April 16.
Hoover hopes to plan other training sessions, particularly in Hardin, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton and Miami counties, and in the Clermont/Butler/Warren county area.
Visit producesafety.osu.edu and look under Upcoming Events for updated information and for downloadable registration forms. Anyone who needs a printed registration form mailed or who would like to suggest a location for an additional session may call Hoover at 330-202-3555, ext. 2918, or send her a fax at 330-263-3685.
330-202-3555, ext. 2918