Horticultural Sciences Department

You are here

Issue No. 616

The Vegetarian Newsletter 

A Horticultural Sciences Department Extension Publication on 
Vegetable and Fruit Crops 

Eat your Veggies and Fruits!!!!!

Publish Date: 
October 2016

UF/IFAS Farm Labor Supervisor scheduled trainings will be held at five locations this fall:  Ft. Pierce Sept. 20 – 21; Arcadia Oct. 11 – 12; Homestead October 20 - 21; Sebring October 25-26; Immokalee November 9 – 10.     For details, please see the following schedule.   Also, on-site (private) trainings can be scheduled at any time, in any location. 

AGENTS HAVE STARTED TEACHING WITH US – In Ft. Pierce, Christine Kelly-Begazo and Ed Skvarch taught several of our classes with us.  This is the first time the agents have taken part in any of our trainings beyond safety classes, and we encourage other agents to do it.   We can provide instructor materials and training ahead of time. 

JOINT EMPLOYMENT is a big topic this year, running through all the classes.   The days of farmers/growers handing off responsibility for labor issues completely to contractors are pretty much over.   Department of Labor and other regulatory agencies are now focused on the ultimate responsibility being where the work is done and for whose benefit, meaning – the grower.  The growers also have deeper pockets.   Growers employing contractors should be aware of the risks and a) make sure they understand all the rules so they can adequately monitor their contractors and b) require or at least suggest that their contractors and the contractors’ supervisory personnel know the rules as well.  

Several large growers now require their crew leaders and other supervisory personnel to attend the classes.   We even completed a training in Georgia recently!  In the FLC Basics class, Rules for Drivers and Wage & Hour classes, we teach the licensing process and responsibilities of Farm Labor Contractors, including Crew Leaders and Bus Drivers.  

Here’s an example of what can happen.   Five people died, including a 4-year old child, in a devastating bus crash south of Tallahassee this past summer.  A month later, the contractor that driver worked for was declared an “imminent hazard to public safety.”  The company had no driver qualification files for any of its drivers, no drug & alcohol testing, no requirement for vehicle inspections, no tracking of hours of service.   He didn’t even have DOT numbers for interstate transport.   Beyond being put out of service, the owner faces high files and criminal prosecution that may lead to prison time.  

Heat Illness led to the death of three others in the past year.   The signs are early and can be recognized and treated, if your employees know what to look for. 

Here is the fall 2016 schedule

For more information, contact Barbara Hyman hymanb@ufl.edu, 239-658-3461, Carlene Thissen carlene@ufl.edu , 239-658-3449 or Fritz Roka, fmroka@ufl.edu  .  

Image result for Long & Scott FarmsImage result for lake meadows natural farm

Picture credits: Long & Scott Farms & Lake Meadows Naturals, Orange County, Florida

UF/IFAS Extension Focuses on Revitalizing Local Food Systems in Central Florida

Richard Tyson and Liz Felter

Orange County agriculture is a microcosm of what has been happening in central Florida for decades.  Fruit and vegetable crop acreage peaked at 70,000 acres in the 1970’s and has declined to just 3,000 acres today.  The number of ornamental foliage nursery operations declined by 60% leaving numerous empty greenhouses.  Extension Agents are promoting urban farms and helping several innovative foliage growers to transition greenhouses over to vegetable production to take advantage of the large local market for food – 68 million tourists visited central Florida last year and 5 million full time residents live within 100 miles of Orlando.

The challenges are enormous, with significant competition from cheap imported food.  In order to be successful, consumers must be educated about the benefits of choosing local over imported food and local governments must be convinced to promote policies that create a Local Food Culture. With these innovative changes in place, significant economic development will occur from Farm to Table, increasing the public value of local food production, marketing and consumption.  This will create an incentive to conserve our land, environment and natural resources for future generations.  The incentives to local citizens and governments include:

¨      Use of child labor and lax environmental laws are common in many countries we import food from.

¨      Today’s food travels thousands of miles before it reaches our plate, reducing quality, shelf life and increasing food safety concerns.

¨      Food security is vulnerable here where only a 30-day supply of food is available at any given time in our warehouses and grocery stores, should imported food be suddenly cut off.

¨      When considered on a statewide basis, the multiplier effect for purchases of local food in Florida is $3.20 of economic activity for each dollar spent. (Hodges et al., 2014).

Every county sustainability plan should have a tag line, The Local Food-Friendly Place to Live!

Hodges, A., T. Stevens and A. Wysocki.  2014.  Local and regional food systems in Florida: values and economic impacts.  Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, 46, 2 (May):285-298.  http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/169063/2/jaae709.pdf

FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule - Produce Safety Alliance Trainings

Michelle D. Danyluk1, Travis K. Chapin1, Jessica A. Lepper2, Renée M. Goodrich Schneider2, and Keith R. Schneider2

University of Florida/IFAS

1Citrus Research & Education Center, Lake Alfred

2Food Science & Human Nutrition Department, Gainesville

This fall, the Food Safety Extension Team is beginning our efforts using the standardized Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) curricula that has been recognized as adequate by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)’s Produce Safety Rule.  This effort includes both two-day Train-the-Trainer Courses for Agents and others who plan on delivering PSA curricula, and one-day Grower Trainings.  Included here is a breakdown of who should attend, what to expect, and the costs to attend.  Information on currently scheduled trainings is also included.  If you would like to schedule a training in your county/region, please contact one of the authors; our contact information is listed at the end.  Parts of this document have been modified directly from the PSA (http://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu/).


Who Should Attend

Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety are all encouraged to attend.  The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

What to Expect at the PSA Grower Training Course

The trainers will spend approximately seven hours of instruction time covering content contained in these seven modules:

§  Introduction to Produce Safety

§  Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training

§  Soil Amendments

§  Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use

§  Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water)

§  Postharvest Handling and Sanitation

§  How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

In addition to learning about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements are outlined within each module.  There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.

Benefits of Attending the Course

The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.  Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of:

§  Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm

§  How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm

§  Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one

§  Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them. 

After attending the entire course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course.  To receive an AFDO certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course. 

Costs to Attend

Total costs to attend the PSA Grower Training Course may seem expensive when compared to typical grower extension courses. Unfortunately, we have little flexibility as fixed costs include:

·         PSA Grower Training Manual                                                                                   $50

·         Certificate of Course Attendance from AFDO                                                         $35

·         Shipping of Training Manual                                                                                     $  5

·         Binder to put Manual into                                                                                          $  5

·         Miscellaneous Printing (agenda, name tags, speaker contact info, evaluation, etc.) $  5

Additional costs also built into the workshop include: lunch, drinks, snacks, and some instructor travel.

Currently Scheduled One-Day Grower Trainings in Florida:


October 24                  Immokalee                  https://psa102416.eventbrite.com

October 28                  Live Oak                     https://psa102816.eventbrite.com

November 7                West Palm Beach        https://psa110716.eventbrite.com

November 30              Balm                           https://psa113016.eventbrite.com

December 9                 Homestead                  https://psa120916.eventbrite.com

2017 – Registration links pending

January 10                   Lake Alfred               

February 7                   Live Oak                    

February 13                 Marianna                    

To schedule a one day grower training in your area, please contact the authors (contact information at the end of the article).


Who Should Attend

Produce safety educators and others who work with fruit and vegetable growers who are interested in becoming PSA Trainers or PSA Lead Trainers. Those who become a PSA Trainer or PSA Lead Trainer are able to offer the PSA standardized curriculum to train fresh produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements in the FDA’s FSMA Produce Safety Rule.  This curriculum was developed through a nationwide collaboration including produce growers, extension educators, researchers, produce industry representatives, and government personnel.

Expected Qualifications Prior to Attending

Prior to attending the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, individuals are expected to have basic knowledge in four competency areas including:

1.      Produce Safety Scientific Knowledge and Experience,

2.      Fruit and Vegetable Production Knowledge,

3.      Effective Training Delivery, and

4.      Knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule.

Lack of knowledge in any of these areas may impact the effectiveness of the trainer and lead to questions not being answered correctly or effectively.  Effective trainers and training courses will afford participants, including growers and regulatory personnel, the opportunity to learn how to assess risks, effectively implement produce safety practices on the farm, and understand the regulatory requirements outlined in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule. 

What to expect at the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course

This two-day course will provide detailed information about GAPs, co-management of natural resources and food safety, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and a review of the seven module PSA Grower Training curriculum.  The course will also cover principles of adult education, how to incorporate the PSA curriculum into other extension trainings, developing working partnerships, expectations for trainers, and how to register a PSA Grower Training Course with the AFDO.

What does successfully completing the PSA Train-the-Trainer (TTT) Course mean for me?

Upon successful completion of the full, two-day PSA TTT, you will be a PSA Trainer. Completing this training allows you deliver curriculum modules as a trainer in a PSA Grower Training, under the direction of a PSA Lead Trainer. Every PSA Grower Training must have at least one PSA Lead Trainer present. Anyone presenting at a PSA Grower Training must be, at minimum, a PSA Trainer.

What is a PSA Lead Trainer?

A PSA Lead Trainer is an individual who has attended the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course and successfully completed the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application and Evaluation.  A PSA Lead Trainer can train solo, or as part of a team, as long as all trainers on the team have attended the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course.  The process of becoming a PSA Lead Trainer is intended to ensure PSA Lead Trainers meet the minimum qualifications in each of the four competency areas as well as the educational and teaching background necessary to lead a PSA Grower Training Course.  Upon completion of the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course, trainers will be sent an e-mail notification and web link to access the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application.  The supplemental application questions (4 randomly assigned short answer questions) will help evaluate trainers’ knowledge and their preparedness to conduct PSA Grower Training Courses and address participant needs.  A committee will then evaluate the trainer’s supplemental application against a standardized rubric to determine whether they are qualified to become a PSA Lead Trainer.  More information about the PSA Lead Trainer Supplemental Application will be reviewed during the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course.

Costs to Attend

Total costs to attend the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course may seem expensive; however, fixed costs include:

·         PSA TTT Training Manual                                                                                       $75

·         Certificate of Course Attendance from AFDO                                                         $50

·         Shipping of Training Manual                                                                                     $  5

·         Binder to put Manual into                                                                                          $  5

·         Miscellaneous Printing (agenda, name tags, speaker contact info, evaluation, etc.) $  5

Additional costs also built into the workshop include: lunch, drinks, snacks, and some instructor travel.

Currently Scheduled Two Day Train-the-Trainer Courses in Florida

2017 - Registration link pending

January 11-12             St. Augustine              need link

Funds are available to help support Agent training to become PSA Trainers, and PSA Lead Trainers.  If you would like to attend the PSA TTT course, and require financial assistance, please reach out to the authors.

Additional Information

For more information about scheduled PSA Grower or Train-the-Trainer Courses, please visit the PSA website at http://producesafetyalliance.cornell.edu, or contact one of the authors.

Travis Chapin                         tkchapin@ufl.edu

Michelle Danyluk                   mddanyluk@ufl.edu

Renée Goodrich Schneider     goodrich@ufl.edu

Jessica Lepper                         jal20xox@ufl.edu

Keith Schneider                      keiths29@ufl.edu