By Billy Mitchell & Tricia Wancko
Missouri Farmers Union (MOFU) works to protect and enhance the economic well-being and quality of life of agricultural producers—whether they are long-established or new to their agricultural journey—and provides a home for those producers who are committed to conserving their state’s natural bounty. As part of that work, MOFU has joined the Local Food Safety Collaborative (LFSC), an FDA-funded initiative to provide training, education, and technical assistance to local food producers. As a new food safety partner, MOFU brings on-the-ground experience and an enthusiasm for food safety to producers in Missouri. MOFU President Tom Coudron says that working alongside producers is essential to ensuring that Missouri products “are of a high quality and safe for consumers.” He adds that the important food safety work in their state “doesn’t happen without effort on the part of the farmer.”
Coudron recently retired from the United States Department of Agriculture Research Service after four decades of conducting research to advance agriculture with a specialization in sustainable practices. He recognizes that “maximizing both freshness and safety doesn’t have to be a balancing act, but it does require knowledge and skill.” Through their work as part of the LFSC, MOFU aims to provide producers food safety education, training, and opportunities to review food safety practices, which he finds “critical to acquiring and preserving a great set of skills.” Joining Coudron on the project is Brittany Sullivan who runs a small family farm in Fayette, Missouri called Sullivan Farms with her husband Bill. As a farmer, Sullivan knows that “food safety is important! From farm to processor to consumer, food encounters a lot during its journey. Knowing ways to reduce contamination is paramount.” MOFU has also partnered with University of Missouri Extension, Lincoln University Cooperative Extension, and other farmers in the state like Liz Graznak of Happy Hollow Farm in Jamestown, Missouri, Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service’s 2021 Farmer of the Year. Together with these collaborators, MOFU will offer platforms for learning that range from training to on-farm field days.
Sullivan shared a simple message for Missouri farmers who are already well-regarded in their local communities. “Food safety plays a key role in your farm’s reputation. So take proper safety precautions, keep things clean.” Over the next year, MOFU and the farmers they serve will be working together to share that message and continue to keep quality high, risks low, and their communities well fed. Interested in food safety resources and events like the ones MOFU will be sharing and hosting? Please visit the Local Food Safety Collaborative website along with the Food Safety Resource Clearinghouse for a curated source of food safety guides, factsheets, templates, and more. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for updates on the latest food safety news and the ongoing work of the Missouri Farmers Union.
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This project website 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 1U01FD006921-01 totaling $1,000,000 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.