Scaling Good Manufacturing Processes Education to Small-Scale Processors

March 31, 2021Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Many small-scale farms and food businesses—whether they are chopping, canning, preserving, aggregating, or dehydrating value-added products—might not know where to begin when navigating the Preventive Controls Rule (PCR) of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). While many of these small processors may be exempt from parts of the rule, they still must comply with Current Good Manufacturing Processes (cGMPs). CGMPs are the foundation for … Read More

Good Practices Bring Great Results for Small Farms

March 17, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator “Camaraderie with the whole team.”  “Much more fun!”  “Peace of mind.”  For most farmers, those phrases may conjure up memories of early fall picnics with staff, family, and friends after the season has slowed down. But for growers Kim Butz, Nathan Vannette, and Roberto Meza, those were the phrases that came to … Read More

Meeting Urban Growers’ Unique Produce Safety Needs

March 3, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator One of the many lessons I’ve learned, or I should say re-learned, over the past year is how important titles can be. I’ve gone from searching “15-minute yoga” on YouTube to the more specific “15-minute Zoom fatigue yoga.” It may be mostly the same content, but if “Zoom” … Read More

Cold Temps, Hot Food Safety Projects

February 24, 2021Blog, Food Safety

By Tricia Wancko, Food Safety Grant Coordinator Punxsutawney Phil has decreed six more weeks of what has shaped up to be a frigid winter, but there are plenty of food safety projects to catch up on while the fields are frozen and you’re keeping toasty inside your burrow. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety Outreach Program … Read More

New FSMA Recordkeeping Requirements are Coming

February 12, 2021Food Safety

By Aaron Shier, NFU Senior Government Relations Representative and Billy Mitchell, Food Safety Training Coordinator The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is opening their virtual doors to everyone, including the farming community, to comment on the proposed food traceability rule. National Farmers Union (NFU), which regularly comments on federal rulemakings important to its members, will certainly … Read More

New Year, New Water Test

January 6, 2021Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Organize the tools. Clean the barn. Patch the pants. As farmers make their New Year’s resolutions, produce growers have an extra one to add: test the water. Contaminated water is often the culprit of produce-related food borne illnesses – but with proper precautions, it can be avoided. … Read More

Using Old Methods to Teach New Food Safety Techniques

December 16, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU Food Safety Training Coordinator Built on Booker T. Washington’s practice of taking educational opportunities to rural areas, designed by George Washington Carver, and financed by Morris Jesup, Jesup Wagons were “moveable schools” that delivered the university classroom experience to farmers across Alabama. Back in 1906, they were horse-drawn wagons but gradually evolved with the … Read More

New Tools Bring the Farm to Screens

December 2, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern Pre-pandemic, you needed a few essential things to host an on-farm tour or educational event. First, a place for people to park. Second, some hot coffee brewing. And, finally, a good story to tell and a megaphone to carry your voice across the farm and to your attendees. Now, with trucks staying parked at home and farmers getting their coffee refills at home, farm … Read More

Urban Farm Education Continues to Grow

November 10, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator Over the years, the picture of a farmer and farm service provider working together has often looked the same – two people, sometimes with paperwork sprawled across a tailgate, looking out over rows and rows of a crop surrounded by farmland stretched to the horizon. It’s a classic … Read More

No Tricks, All Treats With Value-Added Products

October 28, 2020Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator  Like a moth to a glowing jack-o’-lantern, you may be drawn towards towering shelves of mass-produced candy this Halloween season and tricked into thinking that local treats are a thing of the past. Do not be scared: farm-made, value-added products are alive and well in 2020. The old classics, … Read More

TUCCA Steers Food Safety Education in New Direction

October 14, 2020Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern “Parking lot, go ahead and blow your horns. Let everybody know that you are here!” food safety trainer and technical service provider Darrell McGuire shouted at the crowd. Alabama farmers and ranchers – who had drove their vehicles up to the Bethel Spring Missionary Baptist Church to hear speakers present … Read More

Food Safety Spotlight: Kansas Farmers Union Connects with Urban Growers On-Farm and Online

September 30, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Charlie Michel, National Farmers Union Education and Outreach Coordinator When a statewide COVID-19 lockdown upended their food safety event planning, Mary Howell and Mercedes Taylor-Puckett of Kansas Farmers Union (KFU) were quick to respond with creative solutions for delivering on-farm education to Kansas growers. A primary challenge was reaching producers in cities like Wichita, … Read More

Farm Preparedness Checklist for Covid-19

September 29, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Melanie Arthur, NFU Intern The Covid-19 pandemic has created new challenges for our food system, especially for those operating or working on farms or in food facilities. To simplify and streamline pandemic-related decisions, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released a new resource, the Employee Health … Read More

Small Rural Towns Embrace Urban Farming

August 26, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, NFU FSMA Training Coordinator The term “urban farming” evokes images of gleaming greenhouses scattered across New York rooftops, shipping containers full of greens in Charleston, South Carolina, or raised beds in the shadow of the Oakland A’s stadium. But in small rural towns, some farmers are adopting practices that are hallmarks of … Read More

Making Food Safety Practical and Profitable

August 5, 2020Blog, Food Safety

By Billy Mitchell, FSMA Training Coordinator  A mountain of paperwork just to wash your hands. Out of control costs with no end in sight. Common sense concepts lost in a maze of regulations. For a lot of growers, these are the real and perceived barriers that come with keeping our food safe. In the past … Read More