f5: Small Farms Should Think About Big Farm Food Safety


Here it is another farm five on farm small farm smart when you show up here you're an entrepreneur you're looking at these fields thousands of acres blanket of green and would otherwise it'd be a sea of grey. What are some of the takeaways that you started to think about like maybe I could adapt this to my farmer? If I did this. This would really help or is the stuff they're doing only applicable at scale and you can't scale it down. I mean I've thought the most about this exact set right. How does it apply to me doesn't even apply to me and it's the questions people have asked me the most? I think I think a couple of things one to say. It doesn't apply I think is. Excuse to put your head. In the same obviously applies it has to apply. It's the same variety of the same crop just in a different place selling millions times more than I do so I think I'm of the persuasion that has to apply even if that application the decision is I shouldn't even grow it. They're doing about right but I think it has to fly but here's here's where I think it does apply. We're big fans of lean manufacturing on our farm. I'm a big fan of that. I was fortunate to meet somebody somebody locally who helped train people in that so he and I've gotten to talking and obviously been Hartman wrote that book the lean farm that's been a great resource to share with our crew and things like that and big big fan of lean manufacturing in general apparently. Apparently so are these drones. This was a pretty lean mean operating machine but I think some of the ways that it applies I would say is one. The emphasis on food safety was paramount paramount and that's a spot that I think small farmers notoriously even sometimes deliberately <hes> come up for and by that I just mean you know wearing gloves and you should be wearing in gloves washing your hands washing hands making sure the tools are in place to ensure that you can do those things so when you're out in the field the middle of nowhere there's running water. There's more gloves available. There's hairnet. There's bathrooms. There's just there's first aid kits. Just all those things are are givens and there's somebody in charge of supervising that process so I think that was the takeaway that <hes> obviously with his. Mother Food Safety Modernization Act which would be less voluntary or gap audits which are more voluntary. If you choose to go that path I think with those types of things I've sat in on a lot of those sessions at conferences through our extension group what what have you and intends to be a lot of resistance from small growers because all the things they're suggesting are changes to how we currently get to do it and obviously everybody resist change for human so so that's kind of been the world I've been in but then to go somewhere where is not up for debate. You're not picking unless you're you're doing these things. There's just a culture around it. I was Kinda like you know. It's really not that bad every loves you. Just get your gloves and and you don't start ups and you wash your hands and you make sure people can wash your hands and you just do a couple of things and you just make it a non-negotiable you. Just you just say this is what's going the happen or you're not GonNa pick and I think that was a culture ship for me. You know I it was easy to slip into that like I don't WanNa do that and we're not gas inspected and we're not fully compliant with everything for business suggests that I came home and like updated ended a ten page food safety plan because I was so inspired but but I will say like I got home and I I bought gloves and glove rack and and and things like that and more more soap dispensers and paper towel dispensers and improved are saying. An and made sort of hygiene and we have pretty Nice facility as false far small farms go I mean it's five years old and it's you know well lit and well-maintained it. It's just it's a nice all indoor facility but this sort of there's always in my mind like look if they can do it on a trailer towed by a school bus in the middle of a desert then I sure as heck better be able to figure out how to do it in a forty by forty fully enclosed heated washed hack in a barn in the middle of my farm where I live three hundred sixty five days a year right like that was a big that food safety element just really stuck with I've even heard in some of these presentations the notion that big ad corporate tag back enforcing these food safety regulations down the small farmers throat because they're already doing it and wouldn't this be another way to stick it to the little guy that may or may not be true but from the sense. I got their spending an incredible.

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