Camp Hill Farmers Market Seeking for Produce Vendors
Market on Market Camp Hill is looking for an additional produce vendor to meet the demands of our newly established Market! The season runs May 16 – Oct 24, Tuesdays 3:00 to 7:00 pm at the Market St. Parking Lot of Trinity Lutheran Church, Camp Hill. For more information contact Mitzi at email@example.com or 717-805-7243.
Penn State Extension to Host Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Training Courses Throughout Pennsylvania
The Food Safety Modernization Act(FSMA) is the most comprehensive change to produce farming in the past 70 years. Farms with less than $30,000 in gross Produce sales are not covered under this Act. Also, growers who exclusively grow crops not normally consumed raw like potatoes, pumpkins, and sweet corn, for example are not covered by FSMA
One of the requirements of the law is that all growers covered under the Act attend a Grower Training Course. Participants will receive a notebook and receive a certificate of attendance. The cost for the course is typically in the $150 range. This year we have funding from PDA to reduce the cost to $30 per PA grower. See more here.
Next Berry Growers Info Exchange is April 10th at 7:00 p.m.
PVGA is continuing to host a periodic get-together for berry growers. These "Info Exchanges" will be once a month on the second Monday of the month, but given our early sunsets, we have moved the start time to 7:00 p.m. Please join us - meeting are designed to give growers a chance to get time-sensitive updates on current issues from state and regional extension personnel, exchange info with other growers, get answers to their questions, or just listen in or bounce thoughts off of others. Kathy Demchak is the host.
Calls are open to PVGA members and non-members to maximize information exchange, so spread the word and invite your friends and neighbors to join.
The Zoom link is https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83077021881
The call-in numbers are (be aware that this is not a toll-free call):
+1 929 436 2866 US (New York)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC).
The meeting ID is 830 7702 1881
If you have questions, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-694-3596.
Listeria Control in Produce Packinghouses
April 14th, 2023. Biglerville, PA.
This is a one-day workshop designed for those who commercially pack, wash, and store fresh produce and are concerned about the potential for contamination with Listeria monocytogenes and other pathogens. Lectures will be presented on FDA regulation of produce packing facilities; the chemistry and technology of cleaning and sanitizing; facilities and equipment sanitary design; the latest research on Listeria prevalence, distribution, and control in packinghouses; and implementing an environmental testing program. Information presented will be useful for individuals in plant operations, quality control, maintenance, and sanitation roles, as well as those that inspect or audit packing operations.
Course information and a link to register is at https://cvent.me/QgE3Vn.
Farm & Food Worker Relief Payments
Starting in March 2023, farm and meatpacking workers can apply for a one-time $600 pandemic relief payment through Pasa Sustainable Agriculture. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the federal government distributed several rounds of relief payments to small businesses, including farm owners. This relief was vital in keeping many of these small businesses operating during an unprecedented time.
But these relief efforts did not directly support frontline workers, like farmworkers and meatpacking workers, who continued to report to their jobs at the height of the pandemic, when much of the population was ordered to stay home.
Pasa, alongside other organizations across the country, advocated for relief for pandemic-related expenses incurred by farm and food workers. In response, the USDA announced its Farm and Food Worker Relief (FFWR) Grant Program. See more here.
DEP Offers Ag Energy Efficiency Rebates
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Energy Programs Office is offering an Agriculture Energy Efficiency Rebate Program for PA farmers and ag producers.
Rebates are being offered for the following technology categories:
- Energy efficient lighting systems: LED lighting (both interior and exterior), including fixtures and controls (DLC or Energy Star rated lighting)
- Energy efficient ventilation equipment: Ventilation fans including both circulation and exhaust fans, motors and controls
- Energy efficient dairy and refrigeration equipment: Variable speed vacuum pumps, efficient motors and controls, scroll compressors, well water pre-chillers (plate coolers/heat exchangers), and refrigeration heat recovery (RHR)
All of the above technologies have proven energy savings, which can help reduce operating expenses. The program guidelines detail applicant and equipment eligibility and can be found here: www.dep.pa.gov/agricultureenergy.
Rebates will pay up to 50% of equipment purchase costs, up to $5,000. Applicants may apply under all 3 technology categories, but the maximum rebate is $5,000 per applicant. Up to $500 in installation costs may be included in the total project costs for each technology category, to be reimbursed at up to 50%.
The program is open on a first-come first-served basis as funding remains available or through June 30, 2023. You must submit an application to obtain a rebate voucher prior to installing equipment. All applications must be submitted online through eGrants/Electronic Single Application. More information can be found on the DEP website, along with a link to step-by-step application instructions and a link to the online application.