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Cost-share grants for water analysis offered

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is now accepting applications for its newly launched Water Analysis Cost Share Program.

Reimbursement funds will be provided for growers who test their water supply as a part of a pre- and post-harvest food safety program.

“Food safety is critical for any agricultural operation, and safe inputs such as irrigation and wash water should be a part of any farm’s food safety program,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This program will help offset the cost of water testing for farms with existing programs, and also may be an incentive to those without a program to implement one on their farm.”

The program, funded from a $92,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Block Grant, will assist growers by reimbursing part of the cost associated with testing irrigation and wash water used in packing houses. NCDA&CS will reimburse growers up to $1,000 for laboratory analyses to determine the presence of generic E. coli bacteria in irrigation or wash water by a certified laboratory. Growers can be reimbursed for multiple tests throughout the year.

Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Interested growers should contact Kevin Hardison at 919-707-3123 or Kevin.Hardison@ncagr.gov. Reimbursement forms and more information are available at www.ncagr.gov/markets/NCgradesvc.

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