What is the Southern Center?

 About the Southern Center

The overall goal of the Southern Center is to build a collaborative infrastructure in the Southern US to support the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). FMSA is introduced through the work of compliant training, education, extension, outreach, and technical assistance as it relates to the produce industry. The Southern Center includes participation from land-grant institutions in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. It will lead, manage, and coordinate regional assistance programs targeted at owners and operators of small- and medium-sized farms, beginning farmers, socially disadvantaged farmers, small food processors, and small fruit and vegetables merchant wholesalers affected by FSMA requirements. In addition to land-grant institutions, state and local regulators and community-based and non-governmental organizations will be leveraged to maximize training effectiveness and delivery opportunities.

What is the goal of the Southern Center?

The goal will be accomplished through the following specific objectives:

  1. Develop a cadre of PSA and FSPCA certified trainers within the Southern US who are focused on supporting the produce industry.
  2. Develop and deliver region and stakeholder specific education, training curricula, and technical assistance programs.
  3. Create strong partnerships with representative non-governmental organizations/community-based organizations to build capacity and strengthen collaboration for FSMA compliant trainings.
  4. Evaluate the impact of Southern Center education, training, and technical assistance programs.
How do we plan on accomplishing our goal?

Our programs will focus on helping audiences understand and interpret FSMA regulations and implement systems to meet requirements across the respective environments and agricultural production and processing systems in the Southern US to ensure co-management of food safety, conservation systems, and ecological health.

Check us out on our website to gain more information about the Southern Center.

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