Minnesota produce farmers now have until March 19, 2021, to apply for cost reimbursement associated with water testing for generic E. coli. Under a new Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) mini-grant program, farmers who paid for generic E. coli water testing between September 30, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2020 may be eligible for up to $400 to cover these expenses.
Farmers must have sold 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, March 19, 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.
A future, full-scale mini-grant program will provide financial support for water testing and on-farm food safety for expenses dating after Sept. 30, 2020. This grant program will be offered in January 2022. More information will be available following the pilot program.