Grain News

GEAPS Exchange 2014 Education Program Draws Large Crowds

Date Posted: March 3, 2014

Full rooms and in some cases, standing room only, was the norm for the more than 35 hours of educational programming at Exchange 2014 in Omaha, Neb., Feb. 22-25.

About 215 people showed up early Sunday morning, Feb. 23, for a three-hour educational workshop focused on the sweeping, new Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

More than 300 Exchange participants listened to 11 short presentations featuring products and services new to the grain industry, as well as another discussing an innovative grain-engulfment rescue-training unit developed by South Dakota Wheat Growers.

Hundreds more attended one or more of the 21 educational workshops offered throughout the conference on topics ranging from fumigation of stored grain to best practices in facility design and property and risk casualty management.

FSMA represents historic change

Workshop presenters, including David Fairfield, vice president of Feed Services at the National Grain & Feed Assn., made it clear that the FSMA, signed into law last month, represents a major and historic change in U.S. food-safety regulations, shifting from a more reactive approach to a comprehensive system intended to prevent problems before they can occur.

Precisely how FSMA will affect the grain-storage and animal-feed industries won’t be known fully until final rules are published.

Furthermore, exemptions from some of the more onerous rules may still be possible.

However, Fairfield said FSMA would have a major impact for decades to come as grain and feed companies are compelled to comply.

The workshop presenters, including Dr. Angela Shaw of Iowa State University and John Mueller, co-owner of Food Protection Services, Carmel, Ind., urged people to inform themselves about FSMA and its terminology, and begin preparing.

Shaw provided an update on current mandates, and Mueller offered advice on how companies might be able to break down the sweeping scale of compliance obligations into smaller, manageable strategies.

All of the educational programs were planned and organized by GEAPS’ Exchange Educational Programming Committee, led by Joe Hochstettler of Blanchard Valley Farmers Cooperative, Finlay, Ohio, and Ed Zdrojewski of Grain Journal magazine, Decatur, Ill.

For more information, call 952-928-4640.

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