Good Agricultural Practices Workshop

The demand for locally grown fruit and vegetables by consumers has dramatically increased, which has raised concerns about the safety and farm management practices of growers.  Education and outreach efforts are critical to ensure that growers are fully equipped with knowledge of how to operate a farm under good agricultural and management practices. Increasingly, producers are recognizing the need to expand their business to include more marketing venues and value added products remain profitable.  With these business expansions education in business management, food regulations, good agricultural best practices and traceability are critical. 

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, through a grant funded by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, will conduct a sequential three level Good Agricultural Practices Workshops for fruit and vegetable producers throughout Iowa. Thus, this three-level on-farm food safety program will provide education on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), food regulation, marketing and economics, GAP auditing criteria, and aid them in creating on-farm food safety plan, becoming market ready, and GAP audit ready to prepare producers to expand markets and ensure safe products are produced. In addition to this three-level pilot program, an annual webinar will be provided to update producers about changes in the regulatory environment, such as the Food Safety Modernization Act and Food Code, will be held.    The key instructors will be Dr. Angela Shaw, Dr. Catherine Strohbehn and Linda Naeve.

The course descriptions for both levels are as follows:

Level 1 KNOW: farmers who provide food direct to consumers through community–supported agriculture (CSA) or farmers’ markets or considering retail foodservice sales will be trained in good agriculture best practices and market considerations.

Level 2 SHOW: farmers are those considering sales to retail foodservices, such as grocers, restaurants, hospitals, and other institutions, and those interested in adding value to fresh produce and selling products in a convenience form.  Those completing this workshop will have the “bones” of their farm’s written food safety plan in place to demonstrate GAPs are in place and provide food safety assurances to buyers.

Level 3 GO: Trained farmers will be GAP-audit ready and fully equipped to service large-scale food distribution.

Who Should Attend

Who Should Attend

  • Growers who plan to sell to multiple venues or are interested in serving multiple venues
  • Growers interested in wholesale, institutions, farm to school
  • Growers who want to provide value-added products
  • Owners and Operators of farms and gardens

Learning Objectives

Learning objectives

Level One

  • Increase knowledge of on-farm hazards and good agricultural practices
  • Basic food microbiology knowledge
  • Increased awareness of food regulations for selling of fresh produce and light processing

Level Two

  • Increased knowledge of the hazards on their farm
  • Able to develop a food safety plan that details the control measures employed on their farms
  • Increased knowledge of market potentials and needs to expand

Level Three

  • Increased knowledge of GAP Audit standards
  • Understanding of market strategies to improve profitability



AGENDA for LEVEL 1 GAPs On-Farm Food Safety Workshop  - KNOW

8:30am          Check-in

9:00 am         Introductions and Pre-workshop assessment

9:15am          Why are we here?

9:30am          Is produce really safe?  Microbial risks

10:00am        Food Safety Culture and the Regulatory Landscape

10:30am        BREAK

10:45am        Good Agricultural Practices: Production and Safety Issues

11:30am        LUNCH with local foods as available

12:15pm       Post Harvest Handling:  Production and Safety Best Practice

1:45pm         The Paper Chase: Developing your Food Safety Plan

2:00pm         BREAK

2:15pm         WWUD OR Producer Sharing

2:45pm         Evaluation and Wrap Up

3:00pm         Program Ends

AGENDA for LEVEL 2 Development of On Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop - SHOW

8:30am          Check-in

9:00 am         Introductions and Pre-workshop assessment

9:15am          Good Agricultural Practices Review

10:00am        Overview of On Farm Food Safety Plan

10:30am        BREAK

10:45am        Example On Farm Food Safety Plan

11:45am        WORKING LUNCH: Marketing Seminar

1:00pm         Part 1: Preparation of On-Farm Food Safety Plan

2:00pm         BREAK

2:15pm         Part 2: Preparation of On-Farm Food Safety Plan

3:00pm         Evaluation and Wrap Up

3:15pm         Additional time to prepare On-Farm Food Safety Plan

4:00pm         Program Ends

AGENDA for LEVEL 3 Audit Ready Workshop - GO

Half day workshop on host farm. Combination of walking and lecture. Guided by USDA auditor.

Cost and Registration



Registration is open Summer/Fall 2015

Registration and payment is due 10 days prior to the session. If paper registration is used, payment and registration form must be received by host site 10 days prior to session.

Cancellation Policy: Full refunds will be offered to those who cancel in writing 7 days prior to the session.

Pre-registration is required to attend this course. No walk-in registrations will be accepted. All registrations and payment must be received by midnight, 10 days prior to the session.

There must be a minimum of 12 people with paid registration 10 days prior to the workshop for the workshop to occur. If the minimum is not met, the workshop will be cancelled and refunds will be issued accordingly.


Each workshop is $55 for an individual or $90 for two participants from the same farm.

2015-2016 GAP courses will team with MarketReady courses and additional discounts will be provided.

There is a discount provided for those who participate in more than one workshop.

  • If one person participates in Level 1 and MarketReady (or Level 2), then the cost is $100 ($10 discount).
  • If two people from the same farm participate in two programs then the registration fee is $170 ($10 discount).
  • If one person participates in all three workshops then the registration is $145 ($20 discount).
  • If two people from the same farm participate in all three workshops, the registration fee is $250 ($20 discount).


Future Dates

Dates will be posted late Summer 2015

Request for Fall or Spring courses can be given to Dr. Angela Shaw (





Iowa State University Local Foods Pagepresents findings from funded research projects; Extension publications; presentations; and links to related sites.

North Carolina Portal

Produce Safety Project at Georgetown University

Farm to School

USDA Farm to School Web

Iowa Department of Agriculture

National Farm to School Network

Food Safety in Schools – Standard Operating Procedure Template

Good Agricultural Practices

Good Agricultural Practices Network

Georgia GAP program

New England Extension Food Safety Consortium

Closing the GAP’s: Utilizing Good Agricultural Practices.  

United Fresh Producers Association GAPs resources

Cleaning of Products

University of California at Davis Cooperative Extension Vegetable Research and Information Center

Organic Materials Review Institute - Founded  in 1997, the OMR provides organic certifiers, growers, manufacturers, and suppliers an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production, handling and processing.

Food Safety Documentation Resources

The USDA audit forms changed November 2009.

University of Minnesota – a Farm Food Safety Plan Template at

Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Growers Guide to Food Safety

Iowa State University Checklist Retail Foodservice Buyers of Local Foods – PM2046A (PDF)

Standard Operating Procedure Templates

University of Minnesota Agriculture Safety and Health Program

Iowa State University

How to write an SOP Click on Education and Training, SafeFood© Motivators Modules

Extension Publications

On Farm Food Safety Series ISU: 

Guide to Good Agricultural Practices

Guide to Worker Health and Handling –PM 1974B

Guide to Cleaning and Sanitizing

Other Sources

UC Davis Post Harvest Handling

USDA BioPreferred Catalog – an electronic Organic Crops at catalog useful to find and compare information about environmentally friendly products

Procurement Regulations

Buying local foods for retail foodservices. Reviewed by Judy Harrison, Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals.  PM 2047

Frequently Asked Questions on Food Regulations for Small Market Food Producers

Iowa Food Marketing Regulations: A Guide for Small Scale Producers

Iowa Water Testing Laboratories – Selected

State Hygienic Laboratory University of Iowa

Private Laboratories

AgSource Laboratories

LGI Laboratories

Iowa Testing Laboratories, Inc.

Analytical & Consulting Services, Inc.

Mangold Environmental Testing, Inc.

Chem Right Laboratories, Inc.

Getting Started Direct Marketing

What producers should know about selling to local foodservice markets PM 2045

What retail foodservices should know when purchasing local produce directly from farmers. PM 2046

ISU Market Maker a web based resource for producers and buyers 

Sanitizer Test Strips - Chlorine
Easy-to-use test paper indicates approximate strength of chlorine sanitizer solution in parts per million. Dip strip into solution without agitation and hold for one second. Remove from solution. Compare strip color with color chart on label.  About $6 – $7 per 100 strips

Portable Hand Washing Stations

Hand washing facilities must not be used for the cleaning of equipment, storage of wiping cloths, or the disposal of liquid waste.

Disposable paper towels and hand washing soap should be provided

Purchased manufactured or Do-It-Yourself (DIY)

DIY - Minimum of 2-5 gallons of potable water can be kept in a container capable of dispensing water through a valve. This valve shall enable a constant flow of water when opened. The waste water shall be collected and disposed of in a sanitary sewer.