NASHVILLE — Tennessee farmers who want to access additional markets and increase food safety can now do so with less expense. The Tennessee Department of Agriculture (TDA) will reimburse qualified producers who become Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certified. These producers can get 75% of the GAP certification inspection reimbursed, up to $1,500. That is double the amount available last year.
“We’re proud to further support producers in Tennessee through this cost share opportunity,” Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “The certification can lead to increased farmer income and ensures fruits and vegetables are produced, packed and stored safely to minimize food safety hazards.”
GAP certification allows producers to sell directly to customers with stringent food safety requirements, such as large grocery stores, hospitals and universities that require this food safety benchmark.
The application period closes Oct. 31, 2020. Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis. The cost share program is only for producers; warehouses and 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.