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Prepare for Spring Planting, Attend Upcoming Soil Amendments Workshop

Image of a pile of compost.
Pile of composting materials. Photo Credit Edwin Remsberg

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Spring is approaching and agricultural producers may have soil amendments on their mind.

Soil amendments are any of the materials growers add to the soil - like compost and fertilizers - to improve its physical or chemical properties. Biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAOs) are those that come from animals, like manure or animal mortalities. Proper use of soil amendments is critical for managing soil fertility and improving soil quality, and often results in healthier, tastier crops. However, soil amendments, particularly BSAAOs, that are untreated or inadequately treated prior to application can contain harmful human pathogens that could cause illness in consumers.

The Maryland Food Safety Network is hosting a single-day Soil Amendments Workshop at the Maryland Department of Agriculture to help growers understand best practices of using and making biological soil amendments of animal origin (BSAAO), such as compost. This topic is especially relevant to produce covered by the Produce Safety Rule (PSR) of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). Growers covered by the PSR will need to ensure they are complying with Attendees will hear perspectives from industry, University of Maryland Extension (UME), and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

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  • Date and Time: Tue, March 22, 2022, 8:30 AM – 3:30 PM EDT

  • Location: Maryland Department of Agriculture, 50 Harry S. Truman Parkway, Annapolis, MD 21401

  • Cost: $10 (covers expenses for the provided light breakfast and lunch)

  • Register Online

Speakers from UME and the FDA will provide an overview on the Produce Safety Rule and draft guidance to understand the current regulatory framework and requirements regarding soil amendments, the basics of how to compost, and the benefits of using BSAAOs to the soil and the farm. The intent is to help growers understand risks and benefits of using BSAAOs and how to comply with the current requirements. It will also provide an update on the status of BSAAO Risk Assessment, associated research, and discuss the possible future of Subpart F provisions for the use of untreated BSAAO on covered farms. Attendees will receive a certificate of workshop completion for their records.

Anyone with questions or who would like to register by phone may contact Sarah Everhart, 410-458-2475,

Funding for this series of work described in this article is supported by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award U2FFD007444 totaling $523,497 with 100 percent funded by FDA]/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by FDA/HHS, or the U.S. Government.


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