The USDA and the FDA have aligned USDA’s voluntary Harmonized GAP Audit Program with the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. This alignment is the first step the federal government will take to streamline the complex regulatory and market requirements for America’s specialty crops sector.
Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) Program
Federal programs and grants that support GAP activities may also be available in some states. The new Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) Program provides assistance to specialty crop growers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses in 2022 and 2023. The Farm Service Agency (FSA) will oversee the program and issue reimbursements. For more information, view the FSCSC FactSheet or contact your local FSA county office.
Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Webinar
FSA’s webinar, Ensuring a Safe Food Supply: Financial Assistance through USDA’s Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) Program was held on November 3, 2022, from 2:00 -3:00 PM ET. This webinar was recorded, and the audio was edited to improve sound quality. For links to the recording and slides, as well as additional information regarding program eligibility, please visit the FSCSC webpage: The Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program | Farmers.gov
The Farmer’s Handbook for the USDA Harmonized GAP Standard
The Farmer’s Handbook for the USDA Harmonized GAP Standard is intended to assist small and mid-scale produce operations in preparing to meet the requirements of that audit, and so improve their opportunities to access markets for fruits and vegetables. The Handbook was developed based on challenge areas small and medium-scale produce operations have consistently encountered in meeting the requirements of the FSMA-aligned USDA HGAP audit.
As a companion to this Handbook, the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association provides templates for conducting key risk assessments and for keeping certain critical records.
Wallace Center GroupGAP/GAP/Food Safety Resources
Taking advantage of the wide variety of available resources can help you get the greatest benefit from the program.
Food Systems Leadership Network
The Food Safety and Quality Community of Practice (formerly called the GroupGAP Community of Practice) is a place where folks working to provide scale-appropriate and culturally-appropriate food safety technical assistance, training, and certification to local farms and food businesses come together to talk about best practices, lift up good ideas, work through common challenges, and build the relationship.
USDA Risk Management Agency Resources
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Risk Management Agency (RMA), serves America’s agricultural producers through effective, market-based risk management tools to strengthen the economic stability of agricultural producers and rural communities.
USDA Introduces New Insurance Policy for Farmers who Sell Locally
RMA Makes Improvements to Whole-Farm Revenue Protection
Find an RMA Agent: Agent Locator | RMA (usda.gov)
RMA Regional Offices; Regional Offices | RMA (usda.gov)