Grant funding available to help farms comply with Produce Safety Rule
Qualified S.C. farmers can receive up to $2,000 per year per farm for on-site food safety improvements through USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant funding administered by the S.C. Department of Agriculture.
The On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Program applies to farmers who are covered or qualified exempt by the federal Produce Safety Rule.
Improvements eligible for funding include handwashing stations, worker training resources and harvest bins.
The program is designed to help farms comply with the Produce Safety Rule, passed in 2011 and published in the federal register in 2015.
The rule sets the first-ever federal standards for the production, harvest and handling of fruits and vegetables in an effort to prevent microbial contamination and reduce foodborne illnesses associated with fresh produce.
The program application has been streamlined updated from previous years to include not only covered produce farms but also farms that are certified as qualified exempt from the Produce Safety Rule.
Applications and information are available online at agriculture.sc.gov/grants.