Specialty Crops Newsletter

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Specialty Crops Newsletter

September 2017

Erin Morris 
AMS Associate Administrator

For the better part of a year, I proudly served as the Acting Deputy Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service’s (AMS) Specialty Crops Program (SCP) and enjoyed working closely with you and the specialty crops industry.  As I have resumed my duties in the AMS Administrator’s Office, there are some recognizable faces running your program.  Dr. Melissa R. Bailey will serve as SCP’s Acting Deputy Administrator until this fall.  Working alongside Melissa and Associate Deputy Administrator Christopher Purdy now is Charles Stephens, AMS Budget Division Director, who is presently on detail with SCP as an Acting Associate Deputy Administrator.  Charles is no stranger to agriculture. Prior to his tenure at AMS, he served in the Farm Service Agency, overseeing the Commodity Credit Corporation budget.  Charles’ strong leadership and applicable experience enhances our robust SCP leadership team heading into the fall.  The continuity of service to the specialty crops industry and the certainty of fulfilling the needs of our stakeholders remain paramount.

In this issue of the SCP Newsletter, we are excited to highlight some hot topics important to the specialty crops industry.  We’ll present details on USDA Harmonized GAP Audits, as we align our standards with the requirements of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) and pursue Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognition of the USDA standard.  You’ll also get a perspective of how a Marketing Order & Agreements (MOAD) Marketing Specialist strives to support a commodity program covered by the Specialty Crops Program.

USDA Harmonized GAP Audits – Smart and Efficient

Ken Petersen
Head, Audit Program Section, Specialty Crops Inspection Division 

Success in the specialty crops industry means more than growing good produce. It means growing markets.  More than ever, market access hinges on showing that you are using Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) to minimize food safety risks associated with your product.  USDA’s GAP Audit Services provide third-party assurance that your fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards in accordance with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance and industry-recognized food safety practices.  

Learn More

“In the field” with MOAD Marketing Specialists

Lillie Weiya Zeng

Lillie Weiya Zeng
Marketing Specialist, Marketing Orders and Agreements Division 

Twenty-nine fruit, vegetable, and specialty crop industries solve marketing challenges through Federal marketing orders administered by the United States Department of Agriculture.

A key resource for industries’ success: USDA marketing specialists working directly with each marketing order committee to serve as a local contact for USDA services. Industry-nominated committees manage the day-to-day operations of their marketing orders. Each committee has a dedicated USDA specialist to provide oversight and help navigate various regulations.  

Learn More