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FSMA Help for Produce Growers


Please help Cooperative Extension help producers tackle On-Farm Water Treatment.  

Led by a multi-state team from North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech, the University of Tennessee, Washington State University, and the University of Florida, Cooperative Extension is implementing a free curriculum to help produce growers address on-farm water treatment pertaining to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).  We need your help to ensure execution of the best program possible.

To inspire a truly useful and practical curriculum that serves the needs of growers, we need to hear their perspectives and understand the challenges they face so we can bridge the gaps in the tools they have available to meet FSMA requirements.  This means we need to hear directly from the growers.

To gather these important insights, we are currently conducting one-on-one interviews with produce growers from Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.  These 20-minute conversations allow us to candidly hear from growers to understand how water quality management affects their operations, and how Cooperative Extension can best share information and training to help them meet FSMA requirements.

Conversations are currently underway through a third-party consultant and will remain completely confidential.  To respect grower privacy, information learned will be pooled with other interviews in a summary of findings. 

How YOU can help:  We’re asking for your help in connecting with small to mid-sized produce growers who do not have food safety managers on staff. As a trusted Extension professionals, you can help us recruit interview participants, who will have a profound impact on a program that will directly benefit them, by sharing the below email and encouraging them to sign up using the link provided.


Dear ____:

Water treatment systems and water quality represent significant challenges for producer growers.  We’re asking you to take an active role in resolving these challenges by participating with Cooperative Extension in a short research interview to address water quality requirements in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

Your Input Needed: Bridging the GAPs - A Cooperative Extension Program. Bridging the GAPs: Approaches for Treating Water On-Farm is a Cooperative Extension educational program. The training consists of four parts and is designed specifically to help you, as a produce grower, understand water treatment best practices and options to make the right decisions for your farm. 

This curriculum has been tested by growers across the southeast. We’ve leveraged feedback to make improvements – but in order to ensure the best program possible, we need your help!   

Our Extension team is conducting brief 15 to 20-minute research interviews by phone or Zoom among produce growers in the Southeast and we need your advice.  Surveys are conducted by a neutral third party on behalf of Cooperative Extension. Your feedback will remain completely confidential and will be pooled with feedback from others in reports back to us. 

If you are willing to help, please volunteer to participate in this brief survey related to your water and water treatment systems. Please complete this form available here by June 10th, 2020 and we will get in touch with you.

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About the Extension Foundation

The Extension Foundation was formed in 2006 by Extension Directors and Administrators. Today, the Foundation partners with Cooperative Extension through liaison roles and a formal plan of work with the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy (ECOP) to increase system capacity while providing programmatic services, and helping Extension programs scale and investigate new methods and models for implementing programs. The Foundation provides professional development to Cooperative Extension professionals and offers exclusive services to its members. In 2020 and 2021, the Extension Foundation has awarded 85% of its direct funding back to the Cooperative Extension System, 100% of funds are used to support Cooperative Extension initiatives. 

This technology is supported in part by New Technologies for Ag Extension (funding opportunity no. USDA-NIFA-OP-010186), grant no. 2023-41595-41325 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the Extension Foundation. For more information, please visit You can view the terms of useat

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