CFSA's Grower's Toolbox
Dear Nahid,

Back when I was a farmer, I used to start counting down the days until the first killing frost right about now. The combination of the heat, bugs, and weeds always made the dog days of summer drag on for me. I would start daydreaming about the first frost party and the next growing season.

While things are not quite wound down yet, it is not too early to start thinking about next year, and the resources you might tap into for technical assistance. If you are interested in high tunnel, GAP, or organic production and certification assistance, check out our Farm Services team.

Another great resource for financial and technical assistance is the NRCS’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program, particularly their Conservation Plan Supporting Organic Transition, which you can learn more about below. 


Karen McSwain, CFSA Associate Executive Director for Programs

PS - We're finalizing the agenda this week for the virtual 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference (Nov. 4-8), so if you have programming you'd like to see or if you want to present, we want to hear from you! Email Mary Beth Miller, our conference planning extraordinaire.

Mental Health for Farmers

In case you missed it, there's a free course available on stress management for farmers.

Participants will receive skills to understand the sources of stress, manage their own stress, learn the warning signs of stress and suicide, identify effective communication strategies, and connect farmers and ranchers with appropriate mental health and other resources.

Where Organic Production & NRCS Programs Intersect

Are you a grower looking transitioning to organic production and also improve on-farm conservation? If you are looking to do either, please read on, as there several important programs to know about that can help.

But, before going any further, you may be thinking “don’t organic production and conservation go hand-in-hand?" Continue Reading>>

Help Expand the 'Rarely Consumed Raw list' 

An announcement came out from the FDA recently regarding the Produce Safety Rule's Rarely Consumed Raw (RCR) list.

The RCR list is exhaustive and the items included on the list are exempt from the Produce Safety Rule. The list currently includes asparagus; beans, black; beans, great Northern; beans, kidney; beans, lima; beans, navy; beans, pinto; beets, garden (roots and tops); beets, sugar; cashews; cherries, sour; chickpeas; cocoa beans; coffee beans; collards; corn, sweet; cranberries; dates; dill (seeds and weed); eggplants; figs; ginger; hazelnuts; horseradish; lentils; okra; peanuts; pecans; peppermint; potatoes; pumpkins; squash, winter; sweet potatoes; and water chestnuts. See the announcement above on how items were originally selected.  

The FDA is seeking public comment until November for the potential expansion of the RCR list.


Meet Mark Dempsey, CFSA Farm Services Manager

Here at CFSA, we’ve been wanting to give readers an opportunity to get to know our staff better. Beyond job titles and duties, what interests, passions, and hobbies do the staff of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association have?

For this inaugural post in the series, we’re introducing Mark Dempsey, CFSA Farm Services Manager. As one of our two staff members in Asheville, North Carolina, Mark provides one-on-one consulting to farmers looking to transition their farms to certified organic. He also writes Conservation Activity Plans, which help farmers who are interested in transitioning to organic production by addressing the natural resource concerns on their farm. In between helping farmers directly, Mark can be found conducting research and collecting data at various farms across western North Carolina (including our very own Lomax Farm).

Now that you’re loosely acquainted, we’ll hand it over to Mark. Continue Reading>>

New Protocol for the Development & Registration of Treatments for Preharvest Agriculture Water

In late July, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new protocol for the development and registration of antimicrobial treatments for preharvest agricultural water, which was developed through a collaboration with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

Agricultural water can be a major conduit of pathogens that can contaminate produce. The FDA recognizes that effective treatments could be a valuable tool in helping to prevent foodborne illness associated with the consumption of produce. However, there are currently no registered antimicrobial treatment products that are authorized to control microorganisms of public health significance for use on agricultural fields, or for treatment of irrigation water systems or ponds.

A testing protocol, which is intended to help companies develop data on the effectiveness of their products in inactivating pathogens, such as E. coli or Salmonella, in preharvest agricultural water, was developed through a collaboration between scientists in FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and subject matter experts at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA’s approval of this protocol means that companies may use the data developed using the protocol to support registration of new treatment products, or amendments to current products’ labels, for use against foodborne pathogens in preharvest agricultural water.

This action is consistent with the FDA’s commitment to a New Era of Smarter Food Safety and fulfills one of the action items in the 2020 Leafy Green STEC Action Plan.

For more information:


Wednesday, Oct. 14 | Pembroke, NC

2020 Sustainable Agriculture Conference
Wednesday, Nov. 4 - Sunday, Nov. 8 | Tickets go on sale in September

SC Produce Safety Rule Grower Training
Thursday, Nov. 12 | Virtual


Want more? Stay abreast with CFSA events by subscribing to our events-only monthly digest, The Training Ground.
CFSA logo

The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is on a mission to bring local, organic food to your table from a farmer who shares your values – and we can’t do it without you. Together we are building a regional food system that is good for consumers, growers, and the land.
Copyright © 2020 Carolina Farm Stewardship Association, All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails or sign up for our other eNewsletters, The Buzz or The Stew? You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.