Trainer Competency Areas

These areas were originally outlined by the PSA Working Committees to highlight key areas that the curriculum content covered. The competency areas have been refined as the curriculum review and pilots were conducted. Due to the depth and breadth of information covered by the curriculum, having knowledge and experience in the competency areas will allow trainers to effectively deliver the course and answer participants’ questions. While it is not expected that every individual who attends the PSA Train-the-Trainer Course will be an expert in all of the areas below, it is critical that at least one experienced individual who is competent in all of the areas (PSA Lead Trainer) be present at every PSA Grower Training Course to provide oversight for course delivery and accuracy. Effective trainers and training courses will afford growers and all other participants the opportunity to learn how to assess risks, effectively implement produce safety practices on the farm, and understand the regulatory requirements outlined in the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

Produce Safety Scientific Knowledge and Experience

  • Understand how bacteria, viruses, and parasites grow and multiply;
  • Knowledge of fruit and vegetable physiology that influences pathogen presence and survival;
  • Ability to locate relevant scientific research that informs the development of food safety practices and supports produce safety practice implementation on farms.

Fruit and Vegetable Production Knowledge

  • Understand produce production and food safety risks that could exist in agricultural environments;
  • Knowledge of farming practices that reduce microbial risks during fruit and vegetable production;
  • Understand how conservation practices may intersect with food safety (co-management);
  • Knowledge of different types of farming operations and market types (e.g., CSA’s, wholesale, farmer’s markets, etc.) that may influence produce safety management decisions on a farm.

Effective Training Delivery

  • Understand and effectively communicate scientific research that impacts produce safety to non-scientific audiences;
  • Ability to organize, evaluate, and deliver core training curricula for diverse audiences;
  • Ability to discern participant needs for additional clarification or interactions while fostering productive and engaging discussions.

Knowledge of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule

  • Understand the FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how it may impact produce growers;
  • Use appropriate resources and technical assistance to answer questions related to the FSMA Produce Safety Rule;
  • Understand how other produce standards and requirements interface with FSMA Produce Safety Rule and how they may impact produce production.