Saturday, May 9, is the deadline for produce growers to enroll in the first in a series of free training sessions.
Under a new state law, the inspection of produce farms has been transferred from the federal government and placed with field representatives from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, who work in cooperation with the University of Kentucky and the Kentucky Food Safety Branch.
The new rules require fruit and vegetable growers averaging $25,000 or above in annual sales during the previous three years (adjusted for inflation) to complete both a farm survey with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and a seven-hour Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training course.
With in-person produce safety training delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, free virtual training will be offered online in June and July. Four day-long grower training courses will be offered via Zoom from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 9 and 16 and July 16 and 30. Farmers must enroll by Saturday, May 9, to take part in the June 9 course.
To register, contact the UK Food Systems Innovation Center at 859-257-1546. Each course is limited to the first 20 registrants on a first-come, first-serve basis. Those registering must have a computer with a microphone and speaker, internet access and valid email identification, and be present through all seven hours of instruction.
Previous completion of the Kentucky Produce Best Practices Training cannot be used as a substitute for the grower training, however the Produce Safety Alliance training can be used in lieu of the best practices training for farmers’ market sampling certificates.