NASHVILLE – Tennessee farmers seeking to expand their markets and increase food safety by becoming Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified can receive financial assistance from the Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA).
Achieving certification allows producers to increase their income by selling to more businesses, and the certification helps to ensure food sold to customers is safe. GAP focuses on methods to verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize food safety risks.
“Tennessee farmers work hard to provide a safe, abundant food supply,” Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Granting the opportunity to offset the cost of the GAP inspection is one way we can help more specialty crop producers become certified and access more markets.”
There are opportunities for many agricultural products and the list of eligible crops is extremely varied—from herbs to honey, bedding plants to cut flowers, and from trees to shrubs. Qualified producers will have the opportunity to offset the cost of a GAP Certification inspection by being reimbursed 75% of the inspection cost up to $1,500.
The application period is open through Sept. 29, 2021. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost share program is only for producers; warehouses and wholesale distributors are not eligible. Funding for the GAP cost share program is made possible by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Services Specialty Crop Block Grant program.
You will find more information and the cost share application at www.tn.gov/agriculture/farms/produce-nursery/gap.html or by contacting Mike Brown in TDA’s Business Development Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615-837-5545.