Grower Training Course

Who Should Attend

Fruit and vegetable growers and others interested in learning about produce safety, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule, Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs), and co-management of natural resources and food safety.  The PSA Grower Training Course is one way to satisfy the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirement outlined in § 112.22(c) that requires ‘At least one supervisor or responsible party for your farm must have successfully completed food safety training at least equivalent to that received under standardized curriculum recognized as adequate by the Food and Drug Administration.’

Types of Courses

  • In-person course is a traditional classroom style course with instructors, typically presented in a single 7-8 hour training day. More information regarding in-person courses appears on this page.
  • Online delivery course is a three-week course that can be completed at your own pace. The online course is expected to take 15-30 hours for successful completion. 
  • Remote delivery course is a course led in real time by instructors delivered with video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Webex. 

What to Expect at the PSA Grower Training Course

The PSA Grower Training curriculum includes seven modules. For in-person courses, trainers will spend approximately seven hours of instruction time covering the curriculum content.

  1. Introduction to Produce Safety
  2. Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training
  3. Soil Amendments
  4. Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use
  5. Agricultural Water (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water)
  6. Postharvest Handling and Sanitation
  7. How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

In addition to learning about produce safety best practices, key parts of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements are outlined within each module.  There will be time for questions and discussion, so participants should come prepared to share their experiences and produce safety questions.

Benefits of Attending the Course

The course will provide a foundation of Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and co-management information, FSMA Produce Safety Rule requirements, and details on how to develop a farm food safety plan.  Individuals who participate in this course are expected to gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm
  • How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing produce safety practices on the farm
  • Parts of a farm food safety plan and how to begin writing one
  • Requirements in the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them. 

After attending the entire course, participants will be eligible to receive a certificate from the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that verifies they have completed the training course.  To receive an AFDO certificate, a participant must be present for the entire training and submit the appropriate paperwork to their trainer at the end of the course. Participants must be at least 14 years of age to receive the AFDO certificate. 

Costs to Attend

Total costs to attend the PSA Grower Training Course will vary. Set costs include PSA Grower Training Manuals ($50) and a certificate of course completion from AFDO ($35 or $15 depending on the participant's country of residence).  $35 for participants from high income countries and $15 for participants from low, lower-middle, or upper-middle income countries, as designated by the World Bank. All other training costs, such as the cost of the venue and meals, will vary depending on location, food costs, travel costs, and availability of funding to reduce training costs. Costs will also vary between in-person, online, and remote training courses.

Opportunities to Attend PSA Grower Courses

See our list of upcoming Grower Trainings for an updated schedule of training dates, locations, and web-based offerings, and sign up to receive the PSA newsletter to receive the latest updates.