MH900406529What does the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) mean for small farmers? How and when will these standards and practices be implemented? Most pressing to many small farmers is the big question of, "What is this going to cost me?"

In terms of produce, the answers to this last question come in the details.

A piece from the AP cites: "The FDA estimates the cost of implementing the rules will be about $4,700 a year for very small farms, $13,000 for small farms and $30,500 for large farms. Size is determined by a farm's annual business."  Yet, before panic gets a chance to set in for readers out there that are small farmers, factor in that: "Farms selling less than $25,000 of produce annually and those selling directly to the public without going through a third party would be exempt. FDA estimates about 79 percent of all U.S. produce farms won't have to comply."

Details about economic parameters, along with details in countless other areas, are plentiful when it comes to the FSMA. For small farmers it will be necessary to figure out where they fit in and what changes will be needed in their operation to comply with new standards of food safety in the United States.

Thankfully, the FDA provides various resources to help small farmers determine their applicable roles and responsibilities. One very basic resource to consult can be found here on a “What You Need to Know” page. For further information and to sign up for FSMA email updates click here.

Knowing a bit about the details can go a long way in keeping your operation working smoothly. It can also provide a place to begin taking on major change in the food industry, with a bit more confidence in tow.