Fort Valley State Extension conducts agricultural training

Published By: Russell Boone June 18, 2024

Farmers, ranchers and food distributors recently attended the Requirements for Good Agriculture Practice Training at the Pettigrew Center.

Farmers, ranchers and food distributors seeking information about Good Agriculture Practices (GAP) certification recently attended a seminar sponsored by Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) Cooperative Extension program. More than 15 attendees learned the importance of passing a GAP audit.

GAP audits are a voluntary process that certifies that fruits and vegetables are safely produced, handled, packaged and stored in a manner that minimizes the development of hazardous microbes which cause food borne illnesses.

John E. Simmons, who serves as a GAP consultant for FVSU Cooperative Extension, conducted a presentation that stressed the importance of achieving GAP certification. 

Some of Simmons’ duties as a consultant include conducting workshops, speaking to farmers about requirements to pass GAP certification, and producing safety manuals and GAP documentation.

Farmers, food distributors and other representatives from various food cooperatives also conducted presentations. 

“We have these seminars so that growers will be certified when state and federal laws go into effect,” said Dr. James E. Brown, professor and program leader for FVSU’s Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) program. 

Additionally, Brown said the laws, which will soon go into effect, are designed to protect consumers from possible diseases and illnesses. 

This was the second of two seminars scheduled on the FVSU campus. Brown added that should a farmer want to participate in the GAP certification process through FVSU, they must contact Simmons or the Cooperative Extension office.

Carolyn Lawrence, along with her husband Amos, operate Lawrence Farm in Reynolds, Georgia. She said that the workshop was enjoyable and very informative.

Furthermore, she said that going forward, they are looking to expand their business and the information will be helpful as they look to improve yields with products and produce.

The next GAP training seminar will be held July 10 at FVSU’s Agricultural Technology Conference Center (ATCC) at 8:30 a.m.

For more information about GAP certification through FVSU Cooperative Extension, call (478) 825-6269 or email Dr. Brown at