Nebraska Farmers Union Completes Specialty Crops Producer Training
Contact: Jeremiah Picard
402-476-8815 Office or 402-570-3746 Cell
For Immediate Release
Lincoln, NE – Nebraska Farmers Union (NeFU) recently completed another food safety training session for specialty crops producers of vegetables, fruits and nuts. The training was the latest in a series of educational sessions designed to enhance the capacity and profitability for small to midsized specialty crop producers in Nebraska.
The training featured nationally recognized expert Atina Diffley of Family Farmed, with a focus on food safety and flagpoles including the recent changes in FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) FSMA (Food Safety Modernization Act) regulations. The participants developed and created Food Safety Action Plans needed for sales into new markets, such as schools and grocery stores.
Thanks to the uplink capacity of Southeast Community College, producers were able to participate via the Internet. Prairie Plate, a farm to table restaurant run by Renee and Jerry Cornett, catered the locally sourced food. Big Red Worms, a local vermicomposting operation, provided a zero waste event, with a 90% reduction in food waste going to the landfill.
Jeremiah Picard, NeFU Outreach Director who organized the workshops said, “This training focused on developing solutions to food safety issues faced by small to medium specialty crop producers. The new FDA FSMA regulations impacts most farmers raising specialty crops, so these early trainings early gives producers a running start to find workable solutions. These types of targeted trainings are designed to help insure that our local food and specialty crop producers continue to grow and thrive as they gear up to meet the increasing consumer demand for locally grown foods. We will be announcing new trainings in the coming months, thanks to continued funding by the USDA AMS. ”
One attendee had this to say about the workshops: “Great workshop & speaker. Loved that everything could be composted.”
NeFU President John Hansen said “The workshops were designed to increase the economic viability of the participants by providing them with the tools necessary to access new profitable markets including schools, restaurants, grocery stores and other wholesale markets. Thanks to the funding of USDA Agriculture Marketing Service’s “Local Food Promotion Program”, we hopefully helped grow the financial capacity of our local food producers to help them meet the growing needs of food consumers.”
Nebraska Farmers Union is a general farm organization with 4,000 farm and ranch family members dedicated to protecting and enhancing the economic well-being and quality of life for family farmers and ranchers, and their rural communities. Since 1913, Nebraska Farmers Union has helped organize over 445 cooperatives. www.nebraskafarmersunion.org