(Jan. 15) New York State Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker has launched a new program to offer financial support for growers and handlers of fresh produce to obtain third-party audits and/or water tests to verify effective food safety practices, according to a news release.

The New York State Good Agricultural Practices Certification Assistance Program will reimburse up to $750 per eligible applicant, using Specialty Crop Block Grant Program funds provided through the 2008 Farm Bill.

For details, contact Bill Lyons, farm products grading manager for the department’s Division of Food Safety & Inspection, at 518-457-2090 or by email at bill.lyons@agmkt.state.ny.us.