July 29, 2005
Specialty grain manual covers business by the book
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Farmers who grow specialty grains know that to market their product they've got to conduct business by the book. Trouble is, they've not had a book to go by - until now.
"Grainsafe" is an online manual that guides producers through the value-added grain process, said Dirk Maier, a Purdue University Extension grain quality specialist. The manual contains good grain production and handling practices and related recordkeeping forms, he said.
The value-added resource is free and available by logging onto Purdue's Post Harvest Grain Quality & Stored Product Protection Program Web site.
"The 'Grainsafe' program is an on-farm quality assurance program that is intended for value-added grain producers," Maier said. "It is designed so that they can document their quality management steps from the seed to the field, through production and post-harvest handling, to the first point-of-sale."
While developed with growers of non-genetically modified corn in mind, the manual can be adapted for other grains, Maier said.
"What we've developed is a template that people can use as is, or modify it for their own programs," he said. "It's probably more useful for groups of growers who are producing for a particular end-user contract or, possibly, for a particular grain buyer."
"Grainsafe" helps producers keep track of how grain is handled, dried, stored and transported to meet the grain quality standards of buyers and comply with national and international food safety and traceability regulations, Maier said.
"Grainsafe" is based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points procedures and can be integrated into ISO 9000 quality management programs, Maier said.
"For instance, if there were issues that would arise from the contamination of pollen drift from a genetically modified crop into a non-genetically modified crop, 'Grainsafe' would help the producer assess what needs to be done," Maier said.
"Grainsafe" represents what is believed to be the first noncommercial quality-assurance manual aimed at grain segregation and identity preservation.
"There's been a lot of discussion and press in the last few years about identity-preservation programs," Maier said. "Many of those are company proprietary types of programs that are part of contracts requiring producers to document certain steps or handle a product in a particular way.
"What was not available was a public system that pulled all of those quality management steps together into one manual, so that anybody could pick it up and not have to develop all of the in-between steps, details and documentation. That is why we developed 'Grainsafe.'"
When producers go online to access "Grainsafe," they'll be asked to register electronically. They'll then receive an e-mail message with a link to a Web site where they can download the "Grainsafe" files.
For more information about "Grainsafe," contact Maier at (765) 494-1175 or by e-mail at email@example.com; or visit the Post Harvest Grain Quality & Stored Product Protection Program Web site.
"Grainsafe" was developed through a value-added grant provided by the Indiana State Department of Agriculture.
Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Dirk Maier, (765) 494-1175, email@example.com
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