A Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) class has been planned for Hardin County. GAPs classes are training sessions for fruit and vegetable producers taught by personnel from Ohio State University’s Fruit and Vegetable Safety Program. The April 5th program will be from 12:30 – 3:30 pm at the Scioto Valley Produce Auction, 18715 County Road 200, Mt. Victory. The GAPs class is open to all fruit and vegetable producers and will be presented without technology. Attending an OSU GAPs class does not equate to being ‘GAPs Certified.’
GAPs training programs through OSU provide growers with the knowledge and tools needed to implement on-farm best management practices to reduce fresh produce safety hazards and ensure that their product is safe. Trainings are three hours and participants receive a certificate of completion at the end of the training. Each participant also receives recordkeeping materials and factsheets. The class costs growers $20, which helps to cover the expense of training materials. These programs are made possible through a grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture.
GAPS are a series of voluntary management guidelines that can help to reduce the risks of microbial contamination of fruits and vegetables. GAPs can be incorporated into any production system and targets pre-harvest and post-harvest practices. GAPs address four major routes of foodborne pathogen contamination of fresh produce: water, waste, wildlife and workers. For more information on GAPs programs, go to producesafety.osu.edu. Please contact Mark Badertscher, Hardin County OSU Extension Educator, Agriculture and Natural Resources at 419-674-2297 to register for the class.