The deadline for one of three agricultural grants being offered by the department is fast approaching. Two of the grants are focused on on-farm food safety efforts and are geared toward producers and processors. The third involves specialty crops and is geared towards non-profit organizations, commodity associations, state and local governments and universities.
Farmers can apply for both the Water Analysis Cost Share grant and the Good Agricultural Practices Certification Assistance program. The water analysis grant pays for up to $200 for certified laboratory analysis of irrigation and packing house wash water. Tests should look for the presence of generic E.coli bacteria. Growers can be reimbursed for multiple tests during the year.
The GAP program will reimburse growers up to $600 for an independent audit of a farm’s GAP or good handling practices. The GAP audit can be for farm review, field harvest and field packing activities, packing house facility, storage and transportation, and traceback.
Both the GAP and water analysis grants are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier farmers apply the better.
The specialty crop grant is designed to fund projects that have the potential to increase the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. Eligible specialty crops are: fruits, vegetables, tree nuts, dried fruits, horticulture, Christmas trees, turfgrass/sod, and nursery and greenhouse crops.
All three of the grants are managed by our department and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. For more details on the grants, contact the Marketing Division at (919) 733-7887.