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Balancing Conservation and Food Safety


The two courses Protecting Conservation on Produce Farms and Conservation Planning with Produce Farmers on Balancing Conservation and Food Safety are now available on AgLearn. The purpose of these courses is to provide information related to the new Food and Drug Administration’s Produce Safety Rule that affects all farmers who grow fresh produce that is consumed raw. The Produce Safety Rule resulting from the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was published as final in November 2015. Implementation of the rule has now begun and NRCS Conservation Planners may encounter customers who have concerns about how their conservation plans will intersect with their food safety management concerns. 

Protecting Conservation on Produce Farms (NRCS-NEDC 000384)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Proposed Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing and Hold of Produce for Human Consumption (21 CFR Parts 16 and 112), commonly referred to as the Produce Rule, intersects with implementation of NRCS Conservation Practices in several key areas: irrigation water, manure and compost management (labeled as biological soil amendments of animal origin in the FDA rule), management of domesticated animals on or near produce farms, and wildlife habitat management. To ensure that all NRCS employees who interact with produce farmers are fully aware of new management considerations that may influence conservation planning and conservation practice implementation, awareness training about the new rule is essential. In addition to basic awareness about the new law, NRCS employees need complete and accurate understanding of NRCS authorities with regard to both management that may impact (positively or negatively) food safety, and statements regarding  food safety impacts of conservation practices

Conservation Planning with Produce Farmers (NRCS-NEDC 000394)

Describe context and key principles to guide conservation planning with produce farmers; explain NRCS areas of expertise and authority; identify credible food safety resources that are available to produce farmers; practice making decisions in conservation planning scenarios with produce farmers.