Produce Safety Improvement Grants
Farms that grow, harvest, pack, or hold produce with greater than $500,000 in annual produce sales must be in compliance with the standards for on-farm produce safety practices beginning Friday, January 26, 2018 under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.
To assist growers in making on-farm improvements that prevent or reduce produce safety risks, the VT Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) launched the VT Produce Safety Improvement Grant Program, for Vermont growers to make on-farm food safety improvements. The next opportunity to apply for these grants begins February 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM.
Vermont produce growers have shown a strong demand for support to grow produce safely, efficiently, and economically. Growers interested in applying for these grants are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible on February 28, due to the limited funding.
Examples of projects granted in the first round include produce safety upgrades to wash & pack areas, employee handwashing stations, health & hygiene signage, and improvements to produce cold storage & temperature controls.
Approximately $74,000 in funding will be available in the second round of the grant, awarded on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible applicants. Applicants must grow, harvest, pack, or hold “covered produce” as defined by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration’s Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule and have average annual produce sales of greater than $25,000.
To prepare to apply for grants in this second round, applicants should:
- Visit www.agriculture.vermont.gov/produceprogram to download the Request for Proposals, review grant eligibility and submission requirements.
- Enroll in the Vermont Produce Portal at www.agriculture.vermont.gov/produceprogram and click on “Produce Portal.” This is a requirement for grant eligibility.
- Log onto www.agriculturegrants.vermont.gov to create a user account. This is where you will submit your online application.
- Plan your project and prepare to submit your application beginning February 28, 2018 at 9:00 AM.
VAAFM’s Produce Program will review second round applications and is committed to assisting produce growers with making produce safety improvements and upgrades to their farm operation which are focused on food safety and improving the sustainability of their businesses.
To learn more, click HERE or click on this video link below:
Questions related to the Produce Safety Improvement Grants or the FSMA Produce Safety Rule should be directed to (802) 522-3132 or AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov.