April 14 OSU Extension program to teach farmers about cleaner, safer produce
Farmers looking to learn how to prevent microbial contamination on fruit and vegetable farms can attend an April 14 workshop that will offer information from Ohio State University Extension experts on Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) for fruit and vegetable production.
The event will take place in Mahoning County from 1 to 4 p.m. at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm, McMahon Hall, 7574 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Canfield.
Participants will receive a resource workbook, paper handouts and a certificate of participation, said Ashley Kulhanek of Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Team, the program's sponsor.
"The Food and Drug Administration will be releasing draft standards for safe production of fruits and vegetables later this year," she said. "So it's a good time to learn about GAPs."
Attendees won't actually become certified in GAPs by taking the course, Kulhanek noted. That certification comes only through a farm audit by the U.S. Department of Agriculture or a third-party company.
"Some customers want a farm to have an actual audit certificate, some want a farm just to have GAPs education and some want both," Kulhanek said. "Growers should check with their customers to find out what they want."
Registration is $10 per person at the door, payable by cash or check, with checks made out to "OSP." Contact Eric Barrett at 330-533-5538 or firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a seat.
The registration cost is lower than it was for similar programs last year, Kulhanek said, thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
The program also will be offered March 30 in Geauga County; April 11 in Piketon; April 12 in Morgan County; April 17 in Knox County and April 27 in Wooster.
For more information, call 330-202-3555, ext. 2918.
OSU Extension is the outreach arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.