Minnesota produce farmers who purchased water testing for generic E. coli between September 30, 2017 and December 31, 2020 may be eligible for reimbursement of these expenses under a new pilot mini-grant program from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA).
The Produce Safety Water Testing for Generic E. coli Mini-Grant, administered by the MDA Produce Safety Program, will distribute approximately $2,800 total, up to $400 per farmer. To be eligible, farmers must sell a minimum annual average of $5,000 in produce that is covered by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule. Crops covered by the rule include any produce crop that is not listed on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s list of Rarely Consumed Raw crops.
Applications for the pilot mini-grant program are available on the MDA website and will be accepted through Friday, February 26, at 11:59 p.m. Additional information about the eligibility criteria, including the list of Rarely Consumed Raw crops, and application process can be found on the website.
An optional webinar will be held on Thursday, January 21, at 1:00 p.m. to review the requirements and application process for the pilot mini-grant program and to answer questions. Interested parties can register to participate for free via the MDA website. A recording of the webinar will be posted to the MDA website.
A future, full-scale mini-grant program will provide financial support for water testing and on-farm food safety for expenses dating after September 30, 2020. This grant program will be offered in January 2022. More information will be available following the pilot program.
Margaret Hart, MDA Communications