Register Now for FSMA for Small Farms Workshop

Posted On July 18, 2018— Written By
Image of produce at the farmers' market

Produce at the farmers’ market. Photo by Debbie Roos.

You may have heard about a new food safety law and you may have heard that small farms are exempt from this law…

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA developed “Standards for the Growing, Harvesting, Packing, and Holding of Produce for Human Consumption”. These standards are commonly referred to as the Produce Safety Rule. The goal for this Rule is to minimize the risks for consumers of eating raw fruit and vegetables that could be contaminated with bacteria, viruses or parasitic organisms that cause food-borne illness. The Produce Safety Rule targets produce (fruits and vegetables) that are usually eaten raw.

Many farmers are not sure how this rule will affect them and have been asking for guidance. The Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension will offer a FSMA for Small Farms Workshop on Thursday, August 16, 2018, from 3:00-5:00 p.m. at the Chatham County Agriculture & Conference Center in Pittsboro.

The intent of this workshop is to help you understand where your farm may fall under this regulation and learn about food safety practices that are relevant to small, diversified farms in NC. Farm inspections are expected to start in the spring of 2019 and even though most small- and medium-scale farms may be not covered or qualified exempt from some of the stipulations of the Rule, all produce growers have the responsibility to grow, pack and hold produce following safe practices. Come learn with us!

The FSMA for Small Farms Workshop will cover six Food Safety Practices essential for maintaining fresh produce safety on farms of any scale. It will also help participants walk-through an “Exempt or Not? Navigating the Qualifications” exercise to determine how FSMA’s Fresh Produce Safety Rule will govern each participant’s own operation. Workshop leaders will also educate participants in how FSMA will affect any CSAs & Food Hubs that growers may be part of, and focus on the confluence of required practices under FSMA as a preparation & requirement for potential GAP audits & certifications.

The workshop will be taught by two of our N.C. Cooperative Extension Area Specialized Agents for Food Safety, Elena Rogers and Chip Simmons (see bios below).

This workshop is free and open to all current and potential farmers of vegetables and fruits at any scale. Pre-registration is required and the deadline to register is August 13.

Register for this FREE workshop

If you have any questions contact Chatham County Agriculture Agent Debbie Roos at 919-542-8244 or email

Speaker Bios:

Elena Rogers is an Area Specialized Agent with NC State Extension who provides educational programs, training and technical support focusing on fresh produce safety to growers, Extension Agents and the produce industry in the Western half of North Carolina. Programmatic efforts include assistance with FSMA’s Produce Safety Rule implementation, food safety certifications and working with the supply chain.

Dr. Chip Simmons is an Area Specialized Agent for food safety serving eastern NC. His background is in environmental/public health microbiology and food safety. He is a lead trainer for both the Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) curriculum as well as the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance curriculum, the two training curricula currently approved for meeting the requirements for the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and the Food Safety Preventive Controls Rule, respectively. He grew up on a farm in eastern NC and the focus of his efforts are to promote food safety on produce farms by helping growers understand and prepare for FSMA implementation as well as to assist growers in meeting their buyer requirements.