Produce Safety Cost-Share

Produce Safety Cost-Share: 2024 Application Period Has Ended

**Applicants will be notified about enrollment by January 15, 2024. 

Practical Farmers of Iowa is offering a cost-share program for specialty crop farmers seeking to make on-farm food safety improvements. Participants will spend at least $2,200 on improvements and receive a $2,000 reimbursement. 

We will consider eligible applications on a rolling basis, giving priority to farms that did not receive funding in 2023. The application will close when all cost-share slots are full, or on Dec. 31.  

To qualify:

  • You must be a specialty crop producer in Iowa
  • You must have a training certificate from a PSA Grower Training course on the FSMA Produce Safety Rule, or plan to attend a PSA Grower Training before May 1, 2024 (2023-2024 PSA Grower Training dates can be found at Iowa State University Extension and Outreach) 

If accepted, you agree to:

  • Complete at least $2,200 in qualifying purchases to use for on-farm food safety improvements by May 1, 2024 
  • Participate in a 20-minute consultation call 
  • Attend a program kickoff webinar in February  
  • Complete the payment request form and submit proof of purchase (receipts) 
  • Complete a cost-share program survey 

Timeline for Participants

  • Nov. 15-Dec. 31: Enrollment application opens. Submit your application and participate in a consultation prior to Feb. 1, 2024. Eligible applicants will be considered on a rolling basis (the application will close early if the program fills up). 
  • Jan. 15: Enrollees are notified 
  • February: Program kickoff webinars take place; participants may begin to make qualifying purchases 
  • May 1: The deadline to make qualifying purchases 
  • May 31: The deadline to submit payment requests 
  • Aug. 1: Complete program post survey  


Contact our senior horticulture and local foods coordinator, Natasha Hegmann, by emailing or by calling the office at (515) 232-5661.

Eligibility Guidelines

Examples of eligible food safety improvements include, but are not limited to:

  • Installation of walk-in cooler or CoolBot system 
  • Upgrades to food contact surfaces in your pack shed 
  • Handwashing stations 
  • Harvest totes that can be easily cleaned and sanitized 
  • Portable toilet rental 
  • Expenses related to enclosing your packing area 
  • Expenses related to enclosing your growing areas (high tunnels, caterpillar tunnels, row cover)   
  • Fencing or netting to exclude wildlife 
  • Produce washing equipment 
  • Sanitizers, applicators and test strips 
  • Reusable distribution containers (insulated bags, totes, coolers, etc.) 
  • Third-party GAP certification* 
  • Water testing expenses*

*These items are also eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency’s Food Safety Certification for Specialty Crops Program, but cannot be reimbursed by both programs. 

Items not allowed:

  • Single-use packaging, such as clamshells, wax boxes or paper bags 
  • Disposable items, such as gloves, paper towels, etc. 
  • Tent for use at farmers markets 
  • Water testing equipment for plant nutrition 

Project Partners

Funding for the Produce Safety Cost-Share was made possible by Alta Futures, PepsiCo and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Marketing Service. 

This publication or project was supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service through grant 23SCBPIA1187. Its contents are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the USDA 

Examples of 2023 Projects That Were Funded: 

Andrew Phelps Phelps Farm lettuce dryerAndrew Phelps, Phelps Farm – purchased lettuce dryer 

The salad spinner equipment saves us greatly on time by increasing our efficiency. We were manually hand-spinning using a small-capacity spinner. It normally took us between 15 to 20 manual spin loads. With the new spinner, one batch of lettuce mix now just takes two loads. It also saves our arms! We can use the new spinner for greens and spinach too. The machine is easily cleanable and allows for less chance of contamination. Customers come to our markets for high-quality produce. We nicknamed our spinner Dorothy because it reminded me of Dorothy from the movie Twister.” 


Amber Prochnow new wash and pack cement floorAmber Prochnow, GreenStems Farm Inc. – replaced their wash/pack area’s dirt floor with a cement floor and a drain for easier cleaning, better drainage and to better prevent contamination from the dirt and working in muddy water

“Our efficiency has greatly improved now that we are able to have our walk-in, washing and packing all in the same area, and it is more central to the production areas on the farm so we will expend less time walking to and from washing and storage areas.” 



Molly Schintler with chard Courtesy of Echollective FarmMolly Schintler, Echollective Farm – purchased 3D electric fencing materials to exclude wildlife from produce production fields

“In most years prior, deer severely damaged our lettuce, spinach, beets, snap peas and chard crops. This year, because we had the proper fencing – purchased via these grant funds – we were able to exclude the deer and thus far have had a bumper crop of beets, snap peas and chard. We have been able to sell all of these items into all of our market channels – farmers market, CSA, restaurants and grocery stores.”