Produce Farmers Can Schedule Free On-farm Review to Determine Readiness for Produce Safety Rule

apple-apple-tree-apples-574919Changes are coming in the way farmers grow, pack, hold and distribute ready-to-eat produce, and the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering producers the opportunity for a free, on-farm readiness review.

Farmers who sell more than $25,000 in applicable produce per year may be subject to the new federal Produce Safety Rule. Regulatory inspections are expected to begin in mid-2019, but growers can find out now if they are ready for the changes, with time to make any necessary adjustments.

VDACS’ Produce Safety Program is partnering with Virginia Cooperative Extension to conduct the reviews, which are confidential. A VDACS produce safety specialist and an Extension agent will meet with farm management to walk through the operation. A review typically takes two hours and is designed to help answer farmers’ questions about the Produce Safety Rule.

To schedule a review, visit vdacs.virginia.gov/food-produce-safety.shtml or call 804-786-4003. To learn more about the Produce Safety Rule, visit fda.gov.

Trade Mitigation Package Details Announced

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Ben Rowe, National Affairs Coordinator

In July, the President announced a package of agricultural assistance to provide a measure of temporary relief to our farmers experiencing the financial effects of the trade war. Secretary Sonny Perdue was tasked with crafting a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on trade deals to open more markets, in the long run, to help American farmers compete globally the trade mitigation package is an acknowledgment by the administration that the current trade war is exerting significant financial pressure on our farmers and will buy us some time while work continues ironing out the trade situation.

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American Farm Bureau, Coalition Seek Reprieve from Order Reviving Flawed WOTUS Rule

WOTUS 2On behalf of America’s farmers and ranchers, the American Farm Bureau Federation on Monday asked a federal district court in South Carolina to stay its order striking a rule that delayed implementation of the flawed 2015 Waters of the U.S. rule. Without a stay, the court order has the effect of immediately reviving and implementing the controversial WOTUS rule in 26 states. The 2015 rule has been blocked by other court orders in the remaining 24 states.

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Horse-farm Owners are Invited to Enroll in Conservation Short Course

animal-brown-horse-6468A day-long course is being offered this fall to give Virginia horse-farm owners the opportunity to learn about conservation practices that can benefit farming operations and local water quality.

Healthy Land for Healthy Horses: A Short Course on Pasture and Manure Management will be held in four locations across Virginia. The course will cover conservation specific to horse farms. Topics such as soil fertility, grazing management, plant identification and nutrient management will be discussed. Hands-on activities will complement classroom lectures.

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Lee County Agent, Botetourt Student Honored at Young Farmers Event

Amy FannonTwo young adults committed to agriculture were recognized Aug. 3 during the 2018 Virginia Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmers Summer Expo.

Amy G. Fannon of Pennington Gap is this year’s VFBF Young Farmers Excellence in Agriculture Award winner. The award recognizes individuals for involvement in agriculture, leadership ability and involvement and participation in Farm Bureau and other organizations.

Fannon is a Virginia Cooperative Extension unit coordinator and agriculture and natural resources agent in Lee County. She and a sister are the fourth generation to help run her family’s farm where they raise pumpkins, corn and alfalfa hay.

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