July 3, 2024

USDA Offers Assistance for Small and Medium-Sized Specialty Crop Growers to Offset Food Safety Expenses

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops (FSCSC) program provides financial assistance for specialty crop growers who incur eligible on-farm food safety program expenses related to obtaining or renewing a food safety certification.

Growers can apply for assistance on their calendar year 2024 expenses through Jan 31, 2025. The application period for 2025 will be January 1, 2025, through January 31, 2026.

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) lists the following expenses that are eligible for reimbursement:

  • Developing a food safety plan
  • Maintaining or updating a food safety plan
  • Food safety certification
  • Certification upload fees
  • Microbiological testing
  • Training expenses

To be eligible for the program, FSCSC applicants must:

  • be a specialty crop operation
  • meet the definition of a small or medium-size business
  • have paid eligible expenses related to certification

For more information about the FSCSC program, including program eligibility, eligible expenses and how to apply, click here.