Project AbstractThe Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce (MDAC) proposes this project toimplement the Food Safety Modernization Act?s Produce Safety Rule. MDAC is seekingfunding support for personnel, travel, training, equipment, and supply costs needed toimplement a comprehensive and integrated produce safety system. Achieving alignmentwith the Produce Safety Rule will require comprehensive assessments by MDAC, and newlevels of cooperation between MDAC and our state?s land grant universities, MississippiState University and Alcorn State University.The activities that must take place to reach this alignment will not occur without significantand sustained financial obligations. The outcome of these activities will be a successfullydeveloped, multi-faceted administrative program(s) in support of the Produce Safety Rule.To date, the Mississippi State Legislature has not obligated monies for the development of aProduce Safety Department within the MDAC, and the goals set forth in this application willnot be achieved without funding secured through a Cooperative Agreement with the U.S.Food and Drug Administration.To align itself with reaching the goals of the Produce Safety Rule within five years, theMDAC Regulatory Services Bureau intends to expand by creating a new Produce SafetyDivision through the funding provided by Competition A. One Produce Safety Manager willbe hired to oversee one Outreach Coordinator, two Outreach Specialists, and work directlyas the liaison with other agencies and universities to accomplish the goals of the project. TheProduce Safety Manager will manage all programmatic activities related to alignment withthe PSR, including but not limited to the development of a Strategic Action Plan,stakeholder communications, educational outreach to industry, audit assistance,enforcement support, and the development of the Mississippi Farm Inventory. TheOutreach Coordinator will be responsible for educational activities, on-farm assessments,data collection for the inventory, and training the MDAC regulatory inspectors, withassistance provided by the two Outreach Specialists.In addition to the above mentioned full-time employees, funding received from CompetitionB will enable an expansion of the MDAC regulatory staff by hiring one Produce RegulatorySupervisor, and eventually three Produce Regulatory Inspectors.