Atina Diffley presenting to an audience of produce growers.
Photo by Kim Brannen.
Atina Diffley, Midwest author and food safety trainer, was in Mitchell recently to share her expertise with area local food producers as they learned how to prepare their farm sites for new food safety requirements.
The nearly 40 producers attended the training for two full days. They brought farm maps and learned how to provide the safest environment for the food they grow and eventually sell to consumers. Mapping out water routes, livestock and wild animal proximity, and handling facilities helped them get started on their own farm food safety plans.
The group has now completed the first step of classroom training conducted under the new GroupGAP format. Rhoda Burrows, SDSU Extension Horticulture Specialist, coordinated the training, and will follow up this summer with farm audit visits to see how producers have implemented their plans.
Many of the producers are members of the new Dakota Fresh food hub. The hub members have decided to require producer participation in this or similar trainings to ensure quality assurance for their customers. As food safety concerns continue, it will be more and more important for food growers to have a farm safety plan.
For more information on the training, read SDSU Extension sponsors food safety training on AgWeek.