The U.S. Department of Agriculture is offering a series of free webinars designed to give produce industry members a competitive edge.

The series, which runs through December, is being produced by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). USDA experts will lead the webinars and cover key industry topics such as commodity pricing and shipping information, the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act, fresh produce inspection, marketing orders and agreements, quality monitoring services and more. An interactive question and answer session will follow.

“The produce industry is constantly evolving to meet changing customer demand, while trying to navigate challenging economic realities,” said Fruit and Vegetable Program Acting Deputy Administrator, Charles Parrott. “This new series will provide growers and others in the fruit, vegetable and specialty crop industry with tools to help them meet their marketing challenges, all from the comfort of their computer.”

The webinars are free and open to everyone in the produce marketing chain including growers, packers, processors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers and representatives from academia and government. Space is limited and advance registration is required. View the 2012 webinar schedule to register, view the complete webinar schedule or get information about the series. Past webinars are available online in the archives.