Iowa fruit and vegetable farmers can apply for a cost-share grant to assist with the costs of independent food safety certification of an operation’s good agricultural practices (GAPs).
The program is available through the Iowa Food Hub with support from an Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship (IDALS) Specialty Crop Block Grant. The program is available to any Iowa grower.
To be eligible, growers must have a third-party audit from an approved government agency or company that verifies GAP or GHP efforts, the audit must be conducted in 2016 or 2017 and the grower must submit an application to participate in the program prior to the audit. The audit can be for farm review, field harvest and field packing activities, packing house facility, storage and transportation, and traceback. Qualified applicants may receive up to a maximum of $600 per year to cover the costs of one successful audit.
“Cost-share funds help farmers with their on-farm food safety efforts, which are critical to marketing their farm products,” said Teresa Wiemerslage, ISU Extension Regional Program Coordinator. “I am glad we were able to secure these funds to assist our growers. Funds are available to farmers on a first-come, first-served basis.”
A business/individual is eligible to apply for reimbursement as soon as their USDA GAP audit has been approved. Applicants must fully complete the necessary application and be able to show verification of audit approval. Qualified applicants may only receive funding for one successful audit per calendar year. Reimbursements will not be given for costs associated with a failed audit.
Participation in the GAP and GHP audit program is voluntary. The cost share program is designed to help defray some of the costs related to a successful audit. USDA audits for Iowa produce farms have ranged in price from $525 to $1200 per year.
For more information about on-farm food safety or GAP certification, contact Teresa Wiemerslage at email@example.com or 563-794-0599.