Farmer survey: Untreated/raw manure use on produce farms

Posted by Jamie Oberdick on 05/11, 2016 at 01:54 PM

Farmer survey: Untreated/raw manure use on produce farms

Editor’s Note: Recently, PASA sent out a letter requesting farmers to take a survey on how they are using untreated or raw manure on their farm. Given the environmental importance to the local food community (and beyond), we are sharing this letter here. If you are a farmer, please take time to read the following and then participate in the survey. Thanks!

PASA and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) are looking for information to better understand how farmers are using untreated or raw manure on their farms. We’re asking for this now because the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently asking for information regarding on-farm use of manure, as well as existing scientific research on the subject.

The fact that FDA is even asking for this information is the result of a huge victory that PASA, and the broader sustainable agriculture community, achieved during the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed Produce Rule comment period. FDA had proposed rules that would have severely restricted the ways in which farmers use manure—particularly regarding the length of time between the last application of raw or untreated manure to a field and when a produce crop is harvested from that field. Comments from PASA and farmers like you demonstrated to FDA that their proposed approach (a nine month waiting period) did not adequately account for regional variations in climate and growing seasons, or the diversity of production practices that farmers use across the country. As a result, FDA agreed to go back to the drawing board. This request for information by FDA is the first step in that process.

FDA has committed to doing a full risk assessment that will look at pathogen survival while considering different agricultural and ecological conditions (e.g., soil types, application methods, geographic locations, climatic factors) and considering different time intervals between when manure is applied and the crop harvested. The risk assessment will eventually inform FDA’s next proposed standard setting a required minimum application interval for raw or untreated manure. To make sure this risk assessment, and the final standard, fully accounts for the diversity of ways in which farmers use biological soil amendments, particularly raw or untreated animal manure, we are asking for your participation in the survey below.

The information you submit will remain anonymous unless you choose to identify yourself. The responses will be aggregated and used by PASA and NSAC in our comments and ongoing dialogue with FDA to ensure FDA’s new food safety standards work for sustainable agriculture.

You can find out more information on FDA’s risk assessment process on NSAC’s website.

Please complete this survey by MAY 20 so we can aggregate the responses and integrate them into the comments NSAC will provide to FDA. We recognize this is a busy time of a year for you, and we apologize for asking for responses in such a short time window. The questions shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes! Your input is so valuable to this process. Thank you!

Tags: PASA | survey | farms |

{name} Author: Jamie Oberdick

Bio: Editor, Local Food Journey | Passionate about supporting local food in Central PA

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