State Funds for Fruit and Vegetable Growers
Fruit and veggie producers who apply for an audit from USDA for Good Agricultural Practices or Good Handling Practices will be eligible to have up to half of audit costs reimbursed by the Ag. Department.
Brian Pauley is the Program Manager for the State's Fruit and Vegetable Inspection Program. He says the USDA's 50-dollar audit fee was changed to a user fee, nearly increasing by 400 to 800 percent. The grants will cover up to half the cost of the administration fees or up to half of the cost of the entire audit, up to 500 dollars for those undergoing an audit for the first time.
"It will give them the opportunity to see the benefits of the food safety audit
It may be an outlet for them to sale their product to another company that may require a food safety audit certificate. And it gets pretty pricey. Some of these audits range anywhere from about $800 dollars to $2,000."
Any Colorado fruit and vegetable producer, regardless of size of operation, is eligible to apply for the grant.
Farmers can find an application and more information on the department's website, or contact Brian Pauley at the Colorado Department of Ag.
Pauley says most retailers, food service operators, and farmers' markets require some form of third-party verification of food safety practices.