The clock is ticking.

In a matter of hours, farmers across the United States will be obligated to adhere to the largest federal overhaul in agriculture policy in 70 years.

On Jan. 26, the Food Safety Modernization Act will be implemented, requiring farmers who earn $500,000 or more in annual revenue to follow new rules regarding everything from biological soil amendments and domesticated and wild animals, to worker training, health and hygiene, equipment, tools, buildings, agricultural water and testing.

Kevin Robson, a horticulture specialist at the Michigan Farm Bureau, said the law will affect about 200 farms across the state of Michigan, but mostly in West Michigan where the majority of fruit and vegetable crops are grown, including blueberries, squash, zucchini, asparagus, cherries, apples and peaches.

Tim Slawinski, manager of the food safety modernization unit at the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the law is designed to assess all aspects of farming.

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