CDA: Funds Available for Audit Costs
BROOMFIELD, Colo. – The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) Fruit and Vegetable Section announces a pilot program to assist Colorado fruit and vegetable producers in obtaining USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) audits. The cost-share incentive program is designed to encourage producers to undertake verification audits for the first time and help producers already participating in the program to continue.
“Producers should find value in these audits, as they may gain additional customers because of the certifications,” said Brian Pauley, Section Chief. “With this cost-share incentive, we hope that additional producers will see this as an opportunity to provide their customers with verification of best practices to promote food safety.”
Most retailers, food service operators, and even some schools and farmers’ markets require some form of third party verification of food safety practices. The GAP and GHP voluntary audits verify an operation’s efforts to minimize the risk of contamination of fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts by microbial pathogens.
The administrative cost to producers for these verification audits has recently increased. Farmers who are new to the audit program can be reimbursed for half the cost of the entire audit, up to $500 per audit. Farmers who are renewing their audits are eligible for reimbursement of one half of the new USDA administrative fee.
Producers must submit an application for reimbursement. The application is available atwww.coloradoagriculture.com or producers can request one by calling (719) 852-4749 or email@example.com. This form must be submitted to the Fruit and Vegetable Section office, with a copy of the audit certificate, the invoice(s) showing the cost of the audit, proof of payment and a completed W-9. Applications will be reimbursed in order in which they are received, as long as funds remain available. Audits must have been conducted on or after October 1, 2018.
Audits eligible for reimbursement include: Basic GAP/GHP, Produce GAP Harmonized, and Harmonized GAP Plus+. This cost-share program is made possible by a Specialty Crops Block Grant from USDA, obtained by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.