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Deadline for Federal Food Safety Cost-Share Approaching

by Jacob Guth |

January 31, 2024, is the deadline to apply for reimbursement of food safety certification expenses incurred in the 2023 season. 

The USDA released two years of funding for on-farm food safety expenses, and this is potentially the last year of this program. CCOF is working with allies to try to secure future food safety funding in the farm bill, but for now, we are encouraging eligible specialty crop operations to apply for these vital and rare subsidies. 

To be eligible, an applicant must be a specialty crop operation; meet the definition of a small business (sales during a three-year period preceding the program year of $250,000 to $500,000) or a very small business (sales of no more than $250,000); and have paid eligible expenses related to the 2023 season. Eligible expenses include:

  • Developing a food safety plan for first-time food safety certification
  • Maintaining or updating an existing food safety plan
  • Food Safety certification
  • Certification upload fees 
  • Microbial testing for products, soil amendments, and water
  • Training

Applying for and utilizing these funds helps let the USDA and lawmakers know there is a real need for the funding. CCOF encourages all eligible operations to apply. For more information and to apply, visit the USDA’s Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crop Program.

CCOF stands ready to assist producers with providing invoices and key documentation for your application.