UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — In a move that increases its capacity to teach Pennsylvania agricultural producers how to comply with new federal food-safety demands, Penn State Extension recently hired an experienced educator in the field.
With 29 years of experience in adult agricultural education — including 23 years of service as an adult agriculture instructor with the Eastern Lancaster County School District — Jeff Stoltzfus will focus on teaching farmers science-based methods for maintaining the safety of produce, pre-harvest and post-harvest.
Although Stoltzfus will be based at the Lancaster County office of Penn State Extension, he will develop and deliver farm food-safety educational information statewide for Pennsylvania fruit and vegetable growers, particularly with respect to the produce safety regulations issued under the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act.
"Jeff Stoltzfus is uniquely qualified to help Extension address this high-priority area," said Dennis Calvin, director of Penn State Extension. "Over three decades, his teaching has focused on agronomy and horticulture production and more recently on farm food safety in response to increased buyer and now regulatory farm food-safety challenges."
Stoltzfus noted that Extension will continue to offer its educational programs to specialty-crop farmers large and small.
"Over the years I have seen the impact of regulations on small growers," he said. "Large, well-capitalized businesses are much better equipped to handle regulations than small farms. Food-safety regulations and buyer requirements are economically and psychologically challenging our small growers, and part of my role will be to provide training that will help them comply with the new standards relating to produce and food safety."