A new program through USDA’s Farm Service Agency is providing reimbursement for on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification in calendar years 2022 and/or 2023.
How does it work?
In 2022 and 2023, the program will cover a percentage of a farm’s cost of obtaining or renewing their certification, as well as a percentage of their related expenses.
Who is eligible?
Applicants who obtained or renewed a food safety certification (e.g. USDA Harmonized GAP, PrimusGFS) that was issued between June 21, 2022 and December 31, 2022, and during the 2023 calendar year
Farmers that have paid eligible expenses. Farmers must pay for expenses and then be reimbursed by this program. Expenses that have been incurred by the applicant, but have not yet been paid, will not be eligible.
Specialty crop operations (e.g. grow vegetables, fruit, nuts)
Meet the definition of a small business or very small business:
- A small business: during the 3-year period preceding the program, the applicant sold an average annual monetary value of specialty crops of more than $250,000 but not more than $500,000.
- A very small business: during the 3-year period preceding the program, the applicant sold an average annual monetary value of specialty crops of no more than $250,000.
Be located in the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.
What expenses are eligible for reimbursement?
- Developing a food safety plan for first-time food safety certification
- Maintaining or updating an existing food safety plan
- Food safety certification
- Certification upload fees
- Microbiological testing
How are eligible expenses reimbursed?
- Not all eligible expenses are reimbursed at 100% of the costs incurred
- The maximum amount of money available for reimbursement depends on the type of eligible expense incurred. For example, for applicants who incurred costs associated with obtaining a food safety certification, the program will cover 75 percent, up to a maximum of $2,000, for operations considered socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning, and veteran farmer or rancher, and 50 percent, up to a maximum of $2,000, for all other applicants.
- Operations considered socially disadvantaged, limited resource, beginning, and veteran farmer or rancher, are eligible for higher reimbursement rates
How do I apply for the program?
- The application period for program year 2022 will be June 27, 2022, through January 31, 2023. The application period for program year 2023 will be announced at a later date.
- Eligible specialty crop operations can apply for the program by working directly with the Farm Service Agency office at their local USDA Service Center. Applications will be accepted via mail, fax, hand delivery, or electronic means.
- Producers with an eAuthentication account may apply for the program via the FSCSC Application Portal. Applications will be completed, electronically signed, and submitted directly to your local USDA Service Center through this online system.
When will I receive my payment?
- The Farm Service Agency will issue payments for the program year 2022 following approval of each application.
- For program year 2023, payments will be issued after the end of the application period.
- USDA may prorate 2023 final payments if calculated payments exceed the amount of available funding.
Looking for more information? Visit the program webpage for more details.