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"Food as a Business" Workshops

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December 10, 2019


Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

Amy Myers: MSU Extension offers a great number of workshops and courses around the state. What is the workshop you want listeners to know about today?

Eva McCormick: Today I would like to share some information about “Food as a Business: Disaster Preparedness for Food Businesses,” which is a one-day workshop for agricultural producers, food processors, cottage food operators, food retail establishments, and other agricultural based businesses.

The workshop is designed to incorporate and deliver food safety, economics, communications, and business expertise with an emphasis on disaster preparedness to local producers and processors. The workshop purpose is to assist producers in the development of their business by providing information, resources, and contacts that can assist them in the event of disaster.

The workshop can be a good resource for producers who are thinking about starting a new ag-based business, or those who are starting a business or are already in business and wish to gain knowledge about disaster preparedness and what to do when disaster strikes.

The Food as a Business workshop are held throughout the state several times a year. Our next workshops are scheduled for:

  • December 17, 2019 in Biloxi at the Coastal Research and Extension Center
  • December 18, 2019 in Hattiesburg at the Forrest County Extension Office
  • December 19, 2019 in Raymond at the MSU Central Research and Extension Center
  • January 22, 2020 in Hernando at Hampton Inn
  • February 12, 2020 in Verona at North MS Research & Extension Center

Amy Myers: Who comes to this event?

Eva McCormick: Food as a Business primarily focuses on agricultural producers such as small fruit and vegetable growers, food processors (USDA and FDA), retail food establishments, and anyone who owns or operates an ag-based business.

Amy Myers: What will they learn?

Eva McCormick: Food as a Business provides information and guidance for financial preparedness, risk management, record keeping, crisis communication planning, statewide programs and assistance for producers, processors, and ranchers, emergency action planning, and food recall and traceability planning.

The information from Food as a Business is specific to producers, farmers’ markets managers and vendors, local food efforts, cottage food producers, and small food entrepreneurs. 

Amy Myers: What are the main take-aways?

Eva McCormick: We expect those in attendance to leave with increased awareness about the importance of developing, implementing, and maintaining food safety plans, business management, and crisis communication during unforeseen events. We expect producers to reduce financial, marketing and food safety liability risks by implementing preventative and prerequisite programs and plans to prepare for unforeseen circumstances that impact business. Attendees will also gain information regarding statewide governmental programs and support available through the MS Department of Agriculture and Commerce, and tools to promote their products through online marketing.

Amy Myers: Will the event be lecture-based or hands-on?

Eva McCormick: Food as a Business is lecture-based but provides a number of different speakers representing different Mississippi entities and areas of expertise.  Participants are encouraged to interact with the speakers, ask questions, and engage with one another to gain additional insight. After the workshop participants will be given a USB drive containing four related videos, notes, and other resources.

Amy Myers: Anything else you want to add?

Eva McCormick: Food as a Business: Disaster Preparedness for Food Businesses is supported by USDA NIFA, Southern Extension Risk Management Education, MSU Extension, Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center.

Amy Myers: Are there any special guests or speakers?

Eva McCormick: As mentioned, the workshop is a multidisciplinary effort that includes speakers representing MSU Extension, representatives and/or information from the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Mississippi State Department of Health, and the Mississippi Small Business Development Center. It is a wonderful workshop that provides an opportunity to learn about many resources available to producers in Mississippi and to meet experts in various areas who can assist with the development of disaster preparedness plans

Amy Myers: What are the registration deadlines and fees?

Eva McCormick: The fee for the event is $15 to cover the cost of lunch and refreshments.

Amy Myers: When & where will this event be held, and where can we go for more information, or to register? 

Eva McCormick: The next event will be held in December at several locations in the southern part of Mississippi. The workshop begins at 8:30 am. Registration information, forms, agenda, and other information is available at the MSU Extension website ( under the “Events” tab.

Announcer: Farm and Family is a production of the Mississippi State University Extension Service.

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