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SC Dept. of Agriculture opens applications for food safety improvements

The On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Program offers farmers up to $2,000 per year in...
The On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Program offers farmers up to $2,000 per year in reimbursements per farm for on-farm food safety improvements.(WHSV)
Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 8:00 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 18, 2021 at 11:23 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Agriculture on Friday announced a program to fund on-farm food safety improvements.

The On-Farm Improvement Cost Share Program offers farmers up to $2,000 per year in reimbursements per farm for on-farm food safety improvements.

The program is covered through the USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant funding for farmers who are covered by the produce safety rule.

Officials say examples of eligible improvements include handwashing stations, worker training resources and harvest bins. The improvements help farms reduce the risk of foodborne illness in the fruits and vegetables they grow.

The state department of agriculture says they recognize many farms in the state identify needed improvements but lack the money needed to implement changes. The program helps those farms comply with federal produce safety requirements.

“I hope South Carolina produce farmers will explore this opportunity to upgrade their food safety protections,” South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said. “These cost-share grants are an excellent use of taxpayer funds, as they support farms that are already demonstrating a commitment to food safety.”

Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis until depleted and require an on-farm evaluation.

The deadline to apply for reimbursement is Aug. 1, 2022.

More information on the program can be found on the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s website.

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