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. Iowa MarketReady: is for local food producers (fruit, vegetable, meat, dairy, eggs and value-added products) who currently sell their products direct to consumer (farmers markets, CSA, roadside stands, etc.) and are looking to scale up to wholesale marketing to restaurants, grocery stores and institutions. It is not intended for beginning or “want-to-be” local producers.

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

Iowa MarketReady

  • Increase knowledge on how to scale your business up to wholesale
  • Learn how to communicate and build relationships with customers
  • Learn best marketing practices, how to work as a cooperative or aggregator unit
  • Learn about quality assurance and third party auditing
  • Learn about the packaging, labeling, pricing, invoicing, and insurance needs for wholesale
  • Learn about post-harvest handling, food safety concerns, and regulations for wholesale markets


  AGENDA for LEVEL 1 GAPs On-Farm Food Safety Workshop  - KNOW 8:30am - 9:00am          Registration
9:00am - 4:00pm          Workshop  

AGENDA for LEVEL 2 Development of On Farm Food Safety Plan Workshop - SHOW
8:30am - 9:00am          Registration
9:00am - 4:00pm          Workshop  

AGENDA for LEVEL 3 Audit Ready Workshop - GO
Half day workshop on host farm. Combination of walking and lecture.  

AGENDA for Iowa MarketReady Workshop
8:30am - 9:00am          Registration
9:00am - 4:00pm          Workshop

Cost and Registration



  • Iowa State University Extension and Outreach - Black Hawk County (3420 University Avenue, Suite B, Waterloo, IA 50701)
    • Level 1 - March 21, 2016 (Registration is closed.)

Fall/Winter 2016 schedule will be published in October 2016

Registration and payment is due 10 days prior to the session. Cancellation Policy: Full refunds will be offered to those who cancel in writing 10 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.


Each workshop is $55 for an individual. There will be a $10 discount for attending more than one workshop.

Future Dates

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

Good Agricultural Practices

Good Agricultural Practices Network

Closing the GAP’s: Utilizing Good Agricultural Practices

Good Manufacturing Practices

Good Manufacturing Practices for Food Industry

FDA Good Manufacturing Practices Checklist for Human Food

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

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

Extension Publications

On Farm Food Safety Series ISU:

Guide to Good Agricultural Practices

Other Sources

UC Davis Post Harvest Handling

Procurement Regulations

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

Iowa Food Marketing Regulations: A Guide for Small Scale Producers

Iowa Water Testing Laboratories – Selected

Private Laboratories

AgSource 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.

Free Agricultural Water Testing


Free Agricultural Water Food Safety Testing


Ames, Iowa – Iowa State University Extension and Outreach food safety specialists will be providing free agricultural water food safety testing for up to 100 hobby gardeners and very small fruit and vegetable producers in Iowa for an upcoming ISU Extension and Outreach research project titled “Educating Iowans about the importance of water food safety when growing fruits and vegetables.”


Food and Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Rule requires fruit and vegetable growers to test all agricultural water that is used for handwashing and during the growing, harvesting, and processing of fruits and vegetables.  This rule requires that this agricultural water must have less than 126 colony forming units of generic Escherichia coli for safe production.

The ISU Extension research team wants to assist hobby gardeners and very small farmers with testing their agricultural water utilized within their fruit and vegetable garden or farm.  The first 100 agricultural water samples will be sampled for the presence and quantity of generic Escherichia coli at no cost.  Only one agricultural water sample per garden/farm and growers must be located in Iowa.  All sample criteria must accompany the sample.

Sample Criteria

To participate, three items are needed:

  1. Two sample of at least 500 mL of agricultural water from an untreated surface source (e.g. pond, lagoon, rain barrel, etc.) or untreated ground (e.g. well) source provided.
    • Collect in a sterile container (such as a specimen cup from a doctor office or an unused emptied water bottle)
  2. The use of this agricultural water (e.g. handwashing, drip irrigation, overhead irrigation, produce rinsing)
  3. Indicate the market the fruits and vegetables will be sold or given to (e.g. food pantry, grocer, restaurant, farmers market, hospital, school, etc.)

Please send the items with your contact information including:

  1. name,
  2. address,
  3. phone number, and
  4. email

Sample should be overnighted under refrigeration (i.e. an ice pack with paper or bubble wrap between water sample and ice pack).  Iowa State University is open Monday-Friday and samples must arrive between 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to:

Attn: Angela Shaw
2312 Food Science Building
Ames, IA 50011

If you have any questions, contact ISU Extension food safety specialists Angela Shaw.

For more information, go to under Iowa GAP.

This research project is funded by Iowa State University Human Science Extension and Outreach.

Related Publications

On-farm Food Safety: Guide to Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs)

On-farm Food Safety: Cleaning and Sanitizing Guide

On-farm Food Safety: Food Handling Guide