Ohio State University Extension’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.
New this year is information on the proposed supplement to the produce safety rule in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act, 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 about three hours, Hoover said. Participants will receive a three-ring binder with standard operating procedure templates and record-keeping templates, presentation handouts and a certificate of participation.
Registration a week beforehand is required for all classes except 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 register, 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 proposed water quality and testing standards in the FSMA’s supplemental rule, the science behind water samples and how to read test results. There will also be a hands-on demonstration 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 next workshop is scheduled for March 30, 1-4 p.m., in Wooster. Other sessions currently scheduled are:
• County Line Produce Auction/Medina County: Jan. 21, 9 a.m.-noon; Yoder Hardware Store, 10150 Spencer Road, West Salem. No technology will be used during this presentation. No registration is required.
• Holmes County: Feb. 24, 1-4 p.m.; Mt. Hope Auction Barn new facility, 8076 Ohio 241, Mt. Hope. No technology will be used during this presentation. No registration required.
• Henry/Fulton County: Feb. 26, 9 a.m.-noon; Fulton County Extension Office, 8770 state Route 108, Suite A, Wauseon. Registration required by Feb. 19.
• Lucas County: Feb. 26, 1-4 p.m.; Toledo Botanical Gardens Conference Center, 5403 Elmer Drive, Toledo. Registration required by Feb. 19.
• Licking County/Granville Farmers Market: March 3, 1-4 p.m.; location to be determined. Registration required by Feb. 24.
• Fairfield County: March 3, 6-9 p.m.; Fairfield County Extension Office, 831 College Ave., Suite D, Lancaster. Registration required by Feb. 24.
• Farmers Market Management Conference: March 5, 1-4 p.m.; Dublin Community Recreation Center, 5600 Post Road, Dublin. Registration information to be announced.
• Knox County: March 12, 6-9 p.m., location to be determined. Registration required by March 5.
• Muskingum and surrounding counties: March 17, 1-4 p.m., session repeated at 6-9 p.m.; Muskingum County Business Incubator (MCBI), 2725 Pinkerton Road, Zanesville. Registration required by March 10.
• Wayne County: March 30, 9 a.m.-noon; Fisher Auditorium, north end, at OARDC, 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster. Registration required by March 23. A free water-testing workshop will follow from 1-4 p.m.
• Holmes County: April 7, 1-4 p.m.; Mt. Hope Auction Barn new facility, 8076 Ohio 241, Mt. Hope. No technology will be used during this presentation. No registration required.
• Cuyahoga County: April 20, 6-9 p.m.; Cuyahoga County Extension Office, 5320 Stanard Ave., Cleveland. Reregistration required by April 13.
• Monroe/Belmont County: April 21, noon-3 p.m.; Somerton Fire House, 55717 Washington St., Barnesville. Registration required by April 14.
• Guernsey/Noble County: April 21, 6-9 p.m.; Guernsey County Extension Office, 335-B Old National Road, Old Washington. Registration required by April 14.
• Athens County: April 23, 1-4 p.m.; Athens County Extension Office, 280 W. Union St., Athens. Registration required by April 16.
Hoover hopes to plan other training sessions, particularly in Hardin, Clinton, Greene, Hamilton and Miami counties, and in the area of Clermont, Butler and Warren counties.
Visit producesafety.osu.edu and look in the “Upcoming Events” column for updated schedule 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.