Many food and agricultural operations impacted by a disaster do not resume operations, and those that are able to recover, may close within a few years. Mississippi has experienced numerous unforeseen disasters (e.g., flooding, drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, and crude oil disasters) in the last decade that has impacted food and agriculture. Moreover, additional unforeseen disasters, such as food safety and recalls, can impact businesses. To mitigate these risks, a multidisciplinary workshop was developed that aims to minimize the impact of natural disasters, intentional and unintentional contamination through the development and implementation of preventative food safety plans, business management, financial preparation, and crisis communication. Two regional workshops have been conducted (n=13 participants) and workshops were evaluated by participants using a retrospective pre-post evaluation tool (5 items on a 5-point Likert scale ranging from 1 (very little) to 5 (very much)). Based on mean scores across program subject areas, participants had on average “little-to-some” knowledge before the workshop and “much” knowledge after the workshop (n=8; 62% response rate). The change in knowledge is on average 2 points (1-5 scale). Of the respondents, half said they had the intent to adopt and implement practices and plans discussed in the program. We will conduct a follow-up survey to assess adoption and implementation. We found that the workshops have been successful at increasing knowledge gain in each area. Through this workshop, participants have developed an increased awareness of best practices to help them reduce risks and prepare for unforeseen events by improving their business skills, communication, food safety practices and plans.
|Conference||2020 Extension Risk Management Education National Conference|