Char-Koosta News

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Produce Safety Plan workshops offered in March

From Montana Department of Agriculture

HELENA — Fresh produce farmers will receive training and help developing their on-farm food safety Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) plans in three locations throughout Montana this March. The On-Farm Food Safety GAP Workshops will guide participants through the plan writing process. The workshops will be led by food safety experts Nancy Matheson, David Wise, and Jonda Crosby, and will be held March 2-3 in Billings, March 6-7 in Corvallis and March 9-10 in Kalispell.

The workshops are designed for fresh produce growers, especially those who are exempt from the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Rule. However, the workshop will be useful to all fresh produce growers, buyers, and educators. The workshop is no-cost for specialty crop producers. For others taking the course, there is a $25 fee to cover the cost of course materials and lunch on both training days.

“Food safety and security has become a high priority for consumers,” says Betsy Miller, Food Safety Coordinator for the Montana Department of Agriculture. “These workshops will provide tools and guidance so growers can create a food safety plan that works for their farm.”

More than 85 percent of participants drafted a food safety plan while attending this training in 2016. Other topics covered during the workshop include:

• Food safety risks and mitigation techniques
• New food safety measures and how to implement them
• For buyers- what food safety measures to expect of your produce suppliers
• For educators- understand on-farm food safety risks and help produce growers address them

To register go to: http://lccdc.ecenterdirect.com Select “Training Events” from the drop-down menu then select the location option for the workshop you would like to attend.
• Billings - March 2 and 3 at the Billings Food Bank
• Corvallis - March 6 and 7 at the Corvallis Experiment Station
• Kalispell - March 9 and 10 at the Flathead Valley Community College

Day one will begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4 p.m., and Day 2 will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 2 p.m.

This workshop is funded by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and is sponsored by the Montana Food and Agriculture Development Network, Montana Farmers Union and the Montana Department of Agriculture.

The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries. For more information on the Montana Department of Agriculture, visit agr.mt.gov. For more information about food safety in Montana, visit foodsafety.mt.gov.

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