NCDA&CS Offers Farmers Reimbursements for Food Safety Expenses

— Written By N.C. Cooperative Extension

RALEIGH, N.C. – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is providing growers with reimbursement funds for expenses incurred in 2018 related to GAP certification audits and water analysis.

“Food safety is a critical, and often expensive, aspect of any farming operation,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “That’s why we are so pleased to be able to offer this assistance for North Carolina growers. I encourage all growers to take advantage of these reimbursement opportunities while they are still available.”

As part of the Good Agricultural Practices Certification Assistance Program, the department will reimburse first-time users up to $900 of the cost of having a third-party GAP audit to verify a farm’s food safety program. Those who have previously participated in the reimbursement program can receive up to $300. Growers how have participated in the program three or more times are no longer eligible.

The Water Analysis Cost Share program encourages water testing as part of a pre- and post-harvest food safety program for fruit and vegetable crops. The program will assist in paying for the cost of testing irrigation and packing house wash water. The NCDA&CS will reimburse growers up to $1,000 for laboratory analysis to determine the quantitative presence of generic E. coli bacteria in irrigation or wash water by a certified laboratory.

Both assistance programs will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Interested growers should contact Kevin Hardison at 919-707-3123 or Kevin.Hardison@ncagr.gov, or Shirley Nicholson at 919-707-3136 or Shirley.Nicholson@ncagr.gov. Reimbursement forms and more information are available online.

–Kevin Hardison, NCDA&CS