Small Farm Safety Protocols and Automated Farm Labor
**A survey of small farmers in Texas shows a significant gap in food safety protocols and resources, increasing the risk of produce contamination and foodborne illness.
The University of Houston study found very few small growers have previous food safety training.
According to agrimarketing.com, high-risk practices include using raw manure or a combination of manure and soil amendments, freely roaming livestock, insufficient or no handwashing or toilet facilities, and using dirty tools.
**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue is applauding the accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Agriculture over the past year.
Perdue says while this was a tough year with the pandemic, historic wildfires, and weather damage, USDA met the challenges with a multitude of programs and services to support Americans and keep our ag sector running and responsive.
We salute our mission areas and agencies for keeping our customers front and center, serving the American people, farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers.
**The expensive commitment to automate farm labor is gaining momentum with the COVID-19 pandemic.
That’s according to University of California-Davis professor, Phil Martin, who tells thepacker.com while greater mechanization is the goal, ag employers will continue to lean on H-2A guest workers as the supply of U.S. farmworkers dwindles.
Martin says COVID-19 served to increase trends already underway, notably mechanization of farm labor, increased use of H-2A workers and rising imports of fresh produce.