Registration is open for an upcoming workshop on soil amendments and composting for Maryland produce growers. The workshop is part of ongoing collaborative work with the Maryland Food Safety Network, Future Harvest, and the Institute for Local Self-Reliance to provide food safety education that helps growers understand and implement federal regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
The single-day Soil Amendments Workshop will be hosted at the Montgomery County Agricultural History Farm Park to help growers understand best practices of using and making biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO), such as compost. Attendees will hear perspectives from industry, University of Maryland Extension, and the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).
- Date and time: March 9, 2023, 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM EDT
- Location: Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Road, Derwood, Maryland 20855
- Cost: $10 (covers expenses for the provided light breakfast and lunch)
- Register: Online https://soilamendmentworkshop.eventbrite.com or
- Contact Megan Todd, firstname.lastname@example.org, 316-993-5293
Soil amendments are any of the materials growers add to the soil – like compost and fertilizers – to improve its physical or chemical properties and promote better crop growth. Biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAOs) are those that come from animals, like manure or animal mortalities, and can include pre- and post-consumer waste like table scraps. Proper use of soil amendments is critical for managing soil fertility, improving soil quality, and often results in healthier and tastier crops.
However, soil amendments, particularly BSAAOs, that are untreated or inadequately treated prior to application can contain harmful human pathogens that can cause foodborne illness in consumers. This topic is especially relevant to growers of specialty crops that are typically eat raw and produce covered by the FSMA Produce Safety Rule (PSR).
Workshop speakers will provide an overview on the PSR and draft guidance from the FDA to understand the current regulatory framework and requirements regarding soil amendments, the basics of how to compost, and the benefits of using BSAAOs to the soil and the farm. The intent is to help growers understand risks and benefits of using BSAAOs and how to comply with the current requirements. It will also provide an update on the status of BSAAO Risk Assessment, associated research, and discuss the possible future of Subpart F provisions for the use of untreated BSAAO on covered farms. Attendees will receive a certificate of workshop completion for their records.
This workshop is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award U2FFD007444 totaling $856,887 with 100 percent funded by FDA/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.