Date: Jan 24, 2023
Category:

The Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program (FSCSC) provides financial assistance to specialty crop operations for costs incurred obtaining or renewing food safety certifications. The USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) is making $200 million available to specialty growers to offset the cost of food safety expenses through the FSCSC program. Applications for the FSCSC program for 2022 are due Jan. 31, 2023. Applications for 2023 will open Feb. 1, 2023 and close on Jan. 31, 2024.

The FSA lists the following expenses that are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Developing a food safety plan for first-time food safety certification 
  • Maintaining or updating an existing food plan 
  • Food Safety Certification 
  • Certification Upload Fees 
  • Microbiological Testing 
  • Training 

Ineligible costs include infrastructure improvements, equipment, supplies, salaries and benefits and fees or penalties for late payment. 

To be eligible, an operation must be a specialty crop, meet the definition of a small business or very small business, and have paid eligible expenses related to certification. Those that meet the criteria can apply for payment based on the type of expense and farmer category.

 

Category of Eligible Expenses 

Payment Amount of Eligible Costs 

Historically Underserved Farmers and Ranchers 

All other applicants 

Development of a food safety plan for first-time certification 

75 percent (no maximum) 

 

50 percent (no maximum) 

 

Maintaining or updating a food safety plan 

75 percent, up to a maximum of $375 

50 percent, up to a maximum of $250 

Food safety certification 

75 percent, up to a maximum of $2,000 

50 percent, up to a maximum of $2,000 

Certification upload fees 

75 percent, up to a maximum of $375 

50 percent, up to a maximum of $250 

Microbiological testing – products 

75 percent, up to 5 tests 

50 percent, up to 5 tests 

Microbiological testing – soil amendments 

75 percent, up to 5 tests 

50 percent, up to 5 tests 

Microbiological testing – water 

75 percent, up to 5 tests 

50 percent, up to 5 tests 

Training 

100 percent, up to a maximum of $300 

100 percent, up to a maximum of $200 

 

Interested specialty crop producers can apply by completing the application, FSA-888. The application, along with other required documents, can be submitted to the FSA office at any USDA Service Center nationwide by mail, fax, hand delivery or via electronic means. Producers can visit farmers.gov/service-locator to find their local FSA office. Specialty crop producers can also call 877-508-8364 to speak directly with a USDA employee ready to assist. 

 

For more information about the FSCSC program, visit their website here.

WG Staff Contact

Kara Timmins
Communications Manager

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