The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has extended the USDA Harmonized Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) Assistance Program to remain available to eligible producers until all allocated funds are depleted. The program helps fruit and vegetable growers in 16 states enhance market access by defraying the costs of user fees for voluntary audits.
Under the assistance program, USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA) will continue to provide Agricultural Management Assistance funds to cover up to 100% of the cost of Harmonized GAP and Harmonized GAP Plus+ audits for farmers in 16 states authorized by Congress to receive financial assistance for conservation and financial risk mitigation. The authorized states are Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
Produce buyers often require third-party food safety certifications from growers. USDA Harmonized GAP audits, provided by the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), verify that fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled and stored in the safest manner possible to minimize risk of food safety hazards.
More information is available in Questions and Answers about the GAP Assistance Program on AMS’ Harmonized GAP webpage and by contacting AMS’ Specialty Crops Inspection Division, Audit Services Branch at (202) 720-5021 or email@example.com.