News Briefs from the PSA Team
February 2020
PSA Advanced Trainer Workshop Pilots
The PSA team had the pleasure of collaborating with the Southern Center for FSMA Training to develop and pilot two advanced workshops for PSA Trainers and Lead Trainers. The two workshops were hosted at the University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Extension Center in Lake Alfred, Florida in December 2019 and January 2020. A total of 51 participants from 24 different states (AK, AL, AZ, CO, FL, GA, IA, LA, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NH, NJ, NM, NV, NY, SC, TN, TX, VA, WI, and WV) and Puerto Rico attended one of the two workshops. The three day workshop was delivered by 15 different trainers from the University of Florida, Cornell University, Alabama Extension, Global Growers, National Farmers Union, North Carolina State University, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech. The workshop included 6 modules with hands-on activities focusing on microbiology 101, soil amendments, production water, postharvest water, sanitation, and tips for instructor engagement. A special thank you to our collaborators at University of Florida for hosting the workshops and for all who took the time to travel and attend! The development team is continuing to refine the workshop materials and activities. Additional information about future course offerings will be shared as soon as more details are available. 
December 17-19, 2019
January 28-30, 2020
Don Stoeckel, PSA Midwest Regional Extension Associate, started 2020 working with several Grower Training teams in the region. He started near Holland, Michigan where the Michigan team leadership convened a fantastic two-day trainer workshop that he was able to contribute to. Don then traveled to Illinois to help out with a pair of Illinois Farm Bureau-sponsored courses at the Illinois Specialty Crop Conference in Springfield. The following week, he got to work with the Minnesota training team with a combo Grower Training and talk at the Northern Growers and Marketers Conference in St. Cloud. There are too many names to name, but special thanks to Phil Tocco and the Michigan mob; Laurie George, James Theuri, and the Illinois instructors; and Annalisa Hultberg and the Minnesota masters for all their efforts. What great experiences – we love working with the training teams in our regions!
Gretchen Wall, PSA Coordinator and Northeast Extension Associate, had the opportunity to work with a diverse and enthusiastic group of trainers from New England to conduct a PSA Grower Training on Dec. 9, 2019 in Manchester, NH at the New England Vegetable & Fruit Conference. The regional training team included Lisa McKeag (U Mass Extension), Mary Choate (UNH Extension), Tucker Diego (VT Agency of Ag, Food, & Markets), Indu Upadhyaya (Univ. of Connecticut), Gretchen Wall (PSA), Elisabeth Hodgdon (Cornell Coop. Extension), Andrew Chamberlin (UVM Extension), and Hans Estrin (UVM Extension) who brought state and local perspectives to the curriculum content. 27 growers from New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine received certificates as a result of attending the program.
On January 22-23, 2020, Gretchen participated in the second advisory group meeting for the Extension Legal Services Initiative project between the Northeast Center to Advance Food Safety (NECAFS) and the Center for Agriculture and Food Systems at Vermont Law School to identify, research, and provide educational resources relating to key legal questions associated with FSMA PSR compliance. The advisory group met to discuss and review progress on developed resources covering topics such as alternatives and variances, the rulemaking process, business entities, Technical Assistance Network (TAN) and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), audits vs. inspections, and supply chain considerations. Stay tuned for more information about the project and available resources coming soon!
We had a packed house at the PSA Grower Training at the 2020 Empire State Producer’s Expo on January 14th in Syracuse, NY. PSA Director, Betsy Bihn, PSA Spanish-Language Extension Associate Laura Acuña-Maldonado, and colleagues Laura Pineda-Bermudez (National GAPs Program) and Elisabeth Hodgdon (Cornell Cooperative Extension) delivered this training to 27 growers. On January 15th, Laura also took part in presenting a Worker Training Program for Spanish speakers. The 3-day Expo is organized by the New York State Vegetable Growers Association which attracted over 1,000 attendees.
On November 19, 2019, Northwest Regional Extension Associate Connie Fisk spoke in Lincoln, NE at the Practical Applications of FSMA on the Farm Workshop organized by the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. Connie’s presentation on Understanding Water Test Results included an activity developed by Don Stoeckel where participants worked in groups to evaluate an assigned Microbial Water Quality Profile scenario, identify any issues with their sample set, and determine if the water source meets the quality standards of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. This workshop helped growers in Nebraska better understand the requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.
On January 9, 2020, Connie joined North Central Region Lead Trainers, Joe Hannan and Cal Jamerson, to offer the PSA Grower Training at the Great Plains Growers Conference in St. Joseph, MO. Connie has helped offer the PSA Grower Training at this event every year since 2017. She also regularly gives presentations on produce safety in other conference tracks, such as this year’s Updates on FSMA for Tree Fruit Growers in the tree fruit session that she co-chairs with PSA Lead Trainer, Patrick Byers.
Donna Clements (Southwest Regional Extension Associate) spent two weeks (January 13-24, 2020) in the Maule region of Chile, assisting FDA with an International On Farm Readiness Review (OFRR) program. An OFRR training was held the first week in Linares, training 19 participants from various institutions on the OFRR tool and how it can be used to assist growers. The second week was spent in Curico, Chile, conducting demonstration OFRRs at strawberry, blueberry, and raspberry farms exporting to the United States. Over 60 people observed the demonstration OFRRs, with an emphasis placed on providing assistance to small and medium farms.
PSA Team Receives Cornell Agriculture & Life Sciences (CALS) Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension & Outreach Award
In October 2019, the PSA team received the CALS Outstanding Accomplishments in Extension & Outreach Award for demonstrating leadership in developing a highly innovative and responsive extension/outreach program that addresses stakeholder needs. PSA Team members Betsy Bihn, Gretchen Wall, Rob Way, Michele Humiston, and Laura Acuña-Maldonado attended the ceremony to receive the award on behalf of the entire PSA team. Read more about the award .
Compliance Date Reminders
Growers and trainers, please keep in mind that the last of the original compliance dates went into effect last month.
  • January 1, 2020 compliance date for qualified exemption modified labeling requirement in section 112.6(b)(1).
  • January 27, 2020 compliance date for very small farms for most parts of the Produce Safety Rule.
Remember that although all covered farms are now expected to comply with Produce Safety Rule requirements, the inspectional schedule was offset by one year and the first inspection is meant to be educational. This was explained in a conversation with Samir Assar in 2018 that focused on large farms. For very small farms, following the same model, farm management should implement any practices necessary to comply with Produce Safety Rule requirements this growing season (2020); they can expect an educational inspection the following growing season (2021); and routine inspections may begin in 2022. 
Also remember that FDA published a rule in 2019 that pushed compliance dates for all parts of Subpart E (agricultural water), other than those that apply to sprouts, to 2022 or later. This change of compliance dates is reflected in the updated slides in Version 1.2 of the PSA Grower Training curriculum. The PSA will help you understand the requirements related to water as we learn more about the FDA process of re-evaluation.
Read more from FDA in their January FDA Voices article titled ‘ Outbreaks Emphasize the Importance of Implementing Produce Safety Standards ’. 
Educational Resources
Manual Version 1.0 – Officially Retired
Version 1.0 of the PSA Grower Training curriculum was officially retired as of Jan. 1, 2020. Versions 1.1 with updates and Version 1.2 are the only curriculum materials approved for use at registered PSA Grower Trainings.
We also want to alert trainers that we will be moving to spiral bound Version 1.2 PSA Grower Training manuals as a result of the survey sent last month to the Produce Safety Educators group. Spiral bound manuals will alleviate the need to buy 3-ring binders and assemble manuals prior to the course. The manuals will include a folder pocket built into the manual to organize additional handouts.  
Plain Grower Materials Available
FSMA Produce Grower Training Slide Set
Penn State Extension has adapted the PSA Grower Training curriculum materials for trainers who teach Plain sect (e.g., Amish) produce growers. This product is intended to be an alternative delivery mode for presenting the PowerPoint slides developed by the Produce Safety Alliance. It was designed to accommodate growers who prefer alternatives to computer training or where electrical connections are not available. However, the books can be used in any situation where access to projectors or electricity is inconvenient.

The slide book presents the same material found in the PSA Version 1.1 slides, with some adaptations of images and word emphases made to make them easier to view in book form. It is not intended to replace the PSA Grower Training Manual. You must still provide each registrant with a copy of the PSA Grower Training Manual to receive the course certificate. The material is printed in full color on durable paper and assembled in a 3-ring binder so they may be collected at the end of the workshop for future trainings. The slide numbers in the book correspond to those in the Version 1.1 PSA Grower Manual, making it easy for the audience to follow along. Note: Use of these materials will require that trainers provide course participants with the updates to meet the Version 1.2 content as outlined here .

For more information about the manuals visit the Penn State Extension website . PSA Trainers can order books online or by calling 1-877-345-0691. Note: Up to 20 copies of this slide book can be ordered for free, plus shipping. You must obtain a discount code before submitting your order by e-mailing Luke LaBorde at or by calling 1-814-863-2298.
Penn State Farm Food Safety Training FLIP CHART for Harvesters and Handlers of Fresh Produce
A training flip chart for harvesters and handlers of fresh produce has also been developed by Penn State and is a durable, 44-page re-usable flip chart designed to help growers meet the FDA training standards in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule or those required in third-party audits. The material in the flip chart was created with small scale Plain sect growers in mind and includes over 35 professionally drawn images that reflect Amish growing activities in a culturally appropriate manner. Call 1-877-345-0691 and ask for publication number AGRS-147 or merely the “Amish Flip chart” to distinguish it from the original English/Spanish version. The Penn State publication office can also take phone orders and accept checks.
Upcoming Train-the-Trainer Courses
Check our website frequently for additional course availability.

Salinas, CA, USA: 2/18/2020 - 2/19/2020
Registration closing Monday, 2/10!

Bessemer (near Birmingham), AL, USA: 2/26/2020 - 2/27/2020
  • Location: Bessemer Parks and Recreation Center, 100 14th Street South, Bessemer (near Birmingam), AL 35020, USA
  • Contact Information: Kristin Woods, Phone: 251-753-1164
  • Cost: Growers $25; Trainers $200; Course #: AL-200226-INT - Registration Information
  • Training Language: English
  • Note: This is an integrated course. Day 1 is the Grower Training and Day 2 is an extra day for trainers. The registration for trainers is now full. Registration for growers who want to attend Day 1 is still open.
Wenatchee, WA, USA: 4/1/2020 - 4/2/2020
Survey to Explore Trade-offs Between Food Safety & Conservation
A group of researchers at Cornell University, the University of California, and the University of Rochester are working on a project to understand and model trade-offs between food safety and conservation practices used on fresh produce farms. The aim of the project is to help farmers develop management plans that minimize costs and optimize food safety and conservation outcomes. To ensure models accurately reflect grower practices, costs, and needs, the group is conducting a survey among fruit and vegetable growers in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast. If you are a grower in those areas, and are willing to spend 20 to 30 minutes to take the survey, the researchers would appreciate your insights. The survey is 100% anonymous and the first 300 participants will receive a $15 e-gift card.

If you are interested in participating please go to or use the QR code.

Thank you - Dr. Daniel Weller, University of Rochester
Upcoming Events
Western Food Safety Summit Announces ‘Extremely Strategic’ Speaker Lineup for May 6-7 Event
The 2020 Annual Western Food Safety Summit in Salinas, California has confirmed an expert lineup of industry members and researchers as speakers for its May 6-7, 2020 event at Hartnell College – each focused on a theme of “Creating a Sustainable Food Safety Culture.” The two full days of presentations at the Center for Performing Arts on Hartnell’s main campus will feature 14 speakers, covering safety issues in equipment, communication, soil, FDA programs and a variety of water-related issues, including sampling and treatment of irrigated water. A barbecue mixed-grill lunch will be served both days, along with a Networking and Sponsors’ Table, and Day One will conclude with a VIP reception from 4-5:30 p.m., hosted by Scheid Family Wines.

Registration for the summit is available online . The fee is $295 and can be paid with VISA or MasterCard. Sponsorship opportunities are available for a partner donation of $1,000.  Learn more on the event web page . For sponsorship or registration questions, please call (831) 755-6810.