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Conference Name Risk Management Impact of Penn State “Food for Profit” Workshops

Winifred McGee


The demand for local foods has grown, as consumers become more concerned about nutrition and food safety, the carbon footprint of their purchases, and retaining farming in their communities. Consumer demand is accompanied by concern related to the risks associated with food production and distribution. When agricultural producers address this concern by proactively adopting certain best management practices, the result is not only reduction of business risk (and greater sustainability of their direct market enterprise), but also improved health for the community.
Since the 1990s, Penn State Extension has provided the “Food for Profit” (FFP) workshop – educating food entrepreneurs about conducting feasibility studies and writing business plans for informed start-up of their food ventures. The 2010/11/12 USDA RME grant project, “Annie’s Project – Women Adding Value” enhanced the original workshop through adding basic information about five specific strategies – GAP/GHP, HACCP, allergen notification, recall planning and adequate insurance coverage – to mitigate the unique risks of food businesses. After participating in a FFP session, students were expected to do more in-depth research about, and ultimately adopt, risk management tools appropriate to their enterprise.
In fall 2012, Pennsylvania FFP students were invited to complete an intermediate impact evaluation, reporting assessment/adoption of risk management practices. This poster session provides an overview of the educational content of the original project, profiles the survey respondents, and documents the percentage of FFP participants who followed their original intent to research and implement specific risk management strategies.