Good Agricultural Practices Webinar Series offered
May 21, 2013
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URBANA – A Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) webinar series will be offered by University of Illinois Extension on Mondays, July 1, 8, 15, and 22, from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring a variety of topics on safe food production.

“Food safety begins with sound practices on the farm, especially with fresh vegetable and fruit produce that is eaten raw,” said local food systems and small farm educator James Theuri.   “Recent outbreaks of food borne illnesses involving both fresh and processed food products have heightened public concern about food safety. Increasingly, more consumers want to know how their food is grown.”

Theuri said the webinar will benefit all producers, retailers, and wholesalers in supermarkets, farmers markets, or business owners in service industries.

Participants may attend from home via a computer with high-speed internet access and either a headset or speakers. Each registered participant will be sent webinar instructions, handouts, and a GAPs manual prior to the first webinar. There is a $15 fee per participant, and pre-registration along with pre-payment is required by June 25, 2013. 

Topics for the webinar include:

- What are GAPs?

- Soil management/manure management

- Water quality and testing

- Record keeping

- Traceback

- Writing a food safety plan and being audited

“In particular, the GAPs workshop will equip producers with the knowledge to put together a written food safety plan. By becoming food safety compliant, producers will stay competitive in the specialty produce business,” he said.

“Many fresh produce retailers now require the producers who supply them to have third party audits to verify safe food production and handling practices on the farm. The recently signed bill on food safety overhaul underscores the growing emphasis on food safety and the need for fresh produce farmers to produce a safe product,” Theuri added. 

Register online at For online registration, participants can choose to pay by credit card, for immediate confirmation, or by check, which will be a tentative registration until a check is received in office.

Registration can also be done by phone at 815-933-8337 with a credit card or in the office with cash, check, or credit card. For more information, contact Theuri at the Kankakee County Extension Office at 815-933-8337.