Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP) Training and Certification Cost-Share Program
The Arizona Department of Agriculture’s (AZDA) Agricultural Consultation and Training Program is proud to announce a new Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices (GHP/GAP) Training and Certification Cost-Share Program for food safety.
As food safety is a shared responsibility, the training portion of the program will focus on the tools and procedures necessary for certification of food safety practices from a company-wide standpoint including those involved in the harvest and handling of fresh produce. Participants in the class will learn how to implement change and be asked to create a produce safety plan specific to their individual business or company which will include a mock audit. Case studies and examples will be provided and discussed. The training is provided at no cost to participants.
After the GHP/GAP training portion, which will help farmers either reinforce their current food safety practices or help establish a set of practices in their farming operation, a farmer can go through the audit process to be certified for one year under the GHP/GAP certification and apply for cost-share funds. The cost-share program is designed to help defray some of the costs related to a successful audit.
Applications are accepted and approved by the Arizona Department of Agriculture on a first-come, first-served basis. Reimbursements will cover 75% of all costs associated with one successful United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) GHP/GAP audit per year. Participation in the USDA GHP/GAP audit program is completely voluntary. It is recommended that potential applicants apply for this funding as soon as their USDA GHP/GAP audit is approved and payment is verified. In the event of limited funds available, preference will be given to complete applications received with the earliest approval date.
Applicants must fully complete the necessary application and be able to show verification of audit approval and payment. Qualified applicants may only receive funding for one successful audit per Federal Fiscal Year (FFY). To qualify for reimbursement, applicants must have successfully completed an approved USDA audit on or between October 1, 2016 and September 30, 2017. Reimbursements will not be given for costs associated with a failed audit.
More and more, schools and restaurants are trying to buy locally produced fruits and vegetables to serve to students and customers. Producers doing business with these schools and restaurants need some type of safety certification to meet the terms of their contracts. Direct market farmers have an opportunity to certify and even have the cost of certification reduced through the GHP/GAP cost-share program.