2017 Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Certification Assistance Program
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services has developed the Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Certification Assistance Program. This program will help North Carolina growers with financial support in obtaining a third- party audit to verify they are following effective food safety practices.
Food safety has become an important marketing and health issue for the produce industry. Buyers are demanding assurances from growers that their produce is safe. It will become more difficult for growers to market their fruits and vegetables if they don’t have a GAP program in place. The goal of this program is to increase the number of N.C. farmers following Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP) and using third-party audits to verify their food safety program.
This is a cost share program designed to assist fruit and vegetable growers with the cost of a GAP/GHP audit. For farms that are being audited for the first time the NCDA&CS will pay up to $900 of the cost of having a third-party audit to verify a farm’s food safety program. A farm that has been audited in previous years will receive a total of $300. The total amount a farm can receive will be $900 per year for first time audits or $300 per year for subsequent audits. Funds will be paid to the auditor conducting the GAP/GHP audit to reduce the cost to the farmer up to $900. Participating farmers will be responsible for paying the auditor for any balance due above the reimbursement threshold. Funding for this program comes from a USDA grant to the NCDA&CS. Funds are available on a first come first served basis until the funds are depleted.
To be eligible for assistance, North Carolina fruit and vegetable growers must meet the following requirements:
- Growers must have a third-party audit from an approved government agency or company that verifies Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)/Good Handling Practices (GHP).
- GAP/GHP audits can be for Farm Review, Field Harvest and Field Packing, Storage and Transportation and Packing House Facility.
- The GAP/GHP audit must be conducted in 2017.
- Submit application form for approval to participate in this program to the NCDA&CS prior to receiving the GAP/GHP audit.
If you have received 3 or more GAP audits using this certification assistance program you are no longer eligible to receive assistance.
For additional information or to request an application for this program, contact Shirley Nicholson at (919) 707-3136 or email Shirley.Nicholson@ncagr.gov.
Water Analysis Cost Share Program
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) offers a Water Analysis Cost Share program. The purpose of this program is to encourage 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/or packing house wash water.