GroupGAP: Affordable Certification For Small and Mid-sized farms
After three years in pilot stage the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) this week announced that GroupGAP, a new certification option ideal for small and mid-sized farms, will be available nationwide.
GAP (short for “good agricultural practices) certification is a USDA audit program through which producers can demonstrate their compliance with food safety requirements to purchasers and retailers. Historically, GAP certification has been out of reach for many small and mid-sized farms and beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers because of the price. GroupGAP provides a long-awaited alternative option, wherein grower groups, farmer coops, and food collaboratives can share the certification cost by pooling together.