Produce Safety Improvement Grant Program Accepting Applications on November 15

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November, 14, 2017

                                        Funds granted on a first-come, first-served basis

MONTPELIER, VT – The Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets (VAAFM) will accept applications for Produce Safety Improvement Grants beginning November 15. Approximately $74,000 in funding is available in this round, and funds will be 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 (PSR) and have average annual produce sales of greater than $25,000 over the past three years. These capital improvement grants will support Vermont produce growers as they grow and develop on-farm produce safety improvements.

VAAFM aims to learn more about produce growers’ needs and commonly occurring produce safety challenges through this grant program which is the first of its kind in Vermont. Inspired by similar programs in Massachusetts and Maryland, Produce Safety Improvement Grants support Vermont produce growers as they adapt to new regulations and market requirements for on-farm food safety.

“We are happy to support Vermont produce growers as they adapt to meet FSMA produce safety regulations. While we understand growers’ concerns over new regulations, we hope this grant program helps the industry install needed infrastructure and see the Produce Safety Rule as an opportunity to increase access to new markets and further development of farms as sustainable businesses,” said Vermont Agriculture Secretary, Anson Tebbetts.

Farms subject to the PSR are encouraged to apply for Produce Safety Improvement Grants to receive funding assistance for equipment, infrastructure, or other improvements to improve on-farm produce safety. Details on how to apply are as follows:

Visit www.agriculture.vermont.gov/produceprogram to download the Request for Proposals document and review the grant eligibility and submission requirements.

Log onto www.agriculturegrants.vermont.gov to create a user account. This is where you will submit your online application.

Plan your project and get ready to submit your application beginning November 15, 2017!

Questions about Produce Safety Improvement Grants or the FSMA Produce Safety Rule should be directed to (802) 828-2433 or AGR.FSMA@vermont.gov

Contact:

Tucker Diego

Food Systems Coordinator (Dairy & Produce Safety)

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, & Markets

(802) 828-2433

Tucker.Diego@Vermont.gov