Results from a mail survey to assess Minnesota vegetable growers' adherence to good agricultural practices

Annalisa Hultberg, Michele Schermann, Cindy Tong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

To learn what areas should be emphasized in future educational good agricultural practices (GAPs) training efforts, a survey on usage of GAPs was mailed to 855 vegetable growers in Minnesota. We received a 32% response rate and a 43% cooperation rate. Over 65% of respondents reported compliance to proper worker hygiene practices, harvest container and tool sanitization and cleaning, water treatment to reduce the potential for microbial contamination, and protection of growing and stored vegetables from contamination. Small acreages and a diverse array of vegetables are typical characteristics of the majority of Minnesota vegetable farms. Seventy-seven percent of respondents farmed 15 acres or less. Most farms grew 10 or more different vegetable crops, and farmers markets, u-pick operations, and roadside stands were the most common marketing outlets. Overall responses to this study indicated that farmers currently believe they adhere to many recommended food safety best practices, but are lagging in key areas such as treating wash and processing water, taking measures to keep animals out of production fields, and cleaning and disinfecting harvesting tools and containers on a scheduled basis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalHortTechnology
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Keywords

  • Dillman
  • Food safety
  • GAPs
  • Mailing
  • Small farms
  • Water
  • Worker hygiene

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