This page contains resources for produce farmers related to COVID-19, as well as the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

COVID-19 Resources for Produce Farms

These resources are intended as supplement to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture's page of state and federal resources.

Do you know of additional resources that we should share? Please let us know.

University of Minnesota Extension

In Spanish/ en español 

Webinar, Podcasts, and Educational Resources

The need to maintain social distancing has contributed to an abundance of webinars, podcasts, and other online information-sharing. Here are some resources we are aware of:person at computer

  • Recordings are available from a series of webinars the Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships hosted on a variety of topics in response to COVID-19, including food safety
  • The Minnesota Farmers Market Association is hosting open zoom forums on the first and third Mondays of the month, 1:00pm.
  • Farm Commons has continually released new podcast episodes and webinars in response to COVID-19. Topics include legal consideration for sick leave policies, and the legal mechanics of online sales platforms.
  • The Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) has launched a new podcast. Several episodes relate to COVID-19, including one on food safety with Annalisa Hultberg from the University of Minnesota Extension.
  • The National Young Farmers Coalition released a comparison of direct sales software platforms. The University of Vermont Extension also published an overview of various online sales platforms.

Financial Resources

If you feel like you're having a hard time staying afloat, either financially or emotionally, know that you're not alone. Please consider these resources available to you:holding hands

  • Black farmers, Indigenous farmers, and farmers of color who have lost markets or sales can apply for the Local Emergency Assistance Food Fund (LEAFF). LEAFF is not a grant, but a guarantee to buy up to $5000 of produce from each accepted farm during the 2020 season. Find additional application details on the fund's website.
  • Assistance from the MDA Rural Finance Authority Disaster Recover Loan Program is available to help farmers whose operations are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

FSMA Produce Safety Rule Resources & Other Topics

The Produce Safety Rule

Farm Status & Qualified Exemptions

  • This video from the University of Minnesota Extension provides an overview of the different statuses that can apply to a produce farm per the rule, and how to know which might apply to you
  • Overview of the labeling and record keeping requirements for farms that are eligible for a Qualified Exemption - in webinar format, and in a factsheet from the UMN Extension
  • Notice on the FDA Guidance for Farms Eligible for a Qualified Exemption - for Qualified Exempt farms that shifted their marked sales in 2020 due to COVID-19 disruptions, regarding their farm status in 2021

Water

Cleaning & Sanitizing

Records

Produce Safety Program and Inspections

FDA Guidance

Guidance documents demonstrate the FDA's current thinking on a topic. These documents do not change the existing rule, but instead provide a broad range of recommendations on how to meet the requirements for most subparts of the rule.

Helpful Organizations

  • University of Minnesota Extension On-Farm Food Safety Program
  • Produce Safety Alliance (PSA) is a collaboration between Cornell University, FDA, and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to prepare fresh produce growers to meet the regulatory requirements of the FSMA Produce Safety Rule

Non-FSMA Related Resources