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Grant and Training Opportunities
The Business Development Division administers the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program and several training opportunities for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. The following provides information concerning these programs or contact the Agriculture Business Development Division at 304-558-2210 or grants@wvda.us.

Specialty Crop Block Grant Program (SCBGP)

This federally funded program is available nationwide. Grants may not be awarded to private individuals but may be awarded to groups, educational institutions, etc. The maximum amount for any grant is $100,000. Grants for educational and research purposes are favored. Eligible crops include honey, maple syrup, fruits and vegetables, and related foods. Please see below the 2020 Specialty Crop RFA and Grant Application Packet.

                            Commissioner Walt Helmick presents a Specialty Crop Block Grant
For further information contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210.

Training Opportunities

The following training opportunities are available on a yearly basis. These classes are held in conjunction with higher education institutions that are accredited through federal agencies.

Better Process Control School

Offered in cooperation with Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology, WVU Davis College of Agriculture Forestry and Consumer Sciences and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. This course fulfills the requirements set forth in Title 21, Part 114 of the Federal Food Code. The Code states: “All plant personnel involved in acidification, pH control, heat treatment, or other critical factors of the operation shall be under the operating supervision of a person who has attended a school approved by the Commissioner for giving instruction in food handling techniques, food protection principles, personal hygiene, plant sanitation practices, pH controls, and critical factors in the acidification…” Successful participants will receive a certificate of completion. Tests are administered after each section. Contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210 for further information.

WV Food Safety Training Team - Technical Assistance

Participants in this workshop will be able to identify resources and opportunities appropriate for successfully writing their own Farm Safety Plan.

Food Product Recall

Course offered in cooperation with the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology and the
West Virginia Department of Agriculture. The purpose of this class is help participants/manufacturers meet the Food Safety Modernization Act and the Food Allergen and Labeling Requirement and Public Health Security and Bio-Terrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, pertaining to record keeping, coding, records, and recall establishment procedures. Participants will learn how to meet regulations pertaining to labeling, container coding, maintenance of records, and will develop establishment recall procedures. A certificate of completion will be awarded to successful participants at the conclusion of the course. For further information contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210..

GHP/GAP Training

Offered in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Department of Food Science and Technology and the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. GHP/GAP are the acronyms used for Good Handling Practices and Good Agricultural Practices. Participants in this class receive information on the importance of good record keeping, microbiological issues in handling and harvesting fresh produce, and appropriate storage methods. The curriculum used for this class is from Cornell University and is recognized by USDA as the leading curriculum. A certificate of completion is presented after the class. Completion of this class is a requirement to be able have a GAP audit. For further information regarding this class, contact Cindy Martel at cmartel@wvda.us. For information concerning a GAP audit, see the Fruit and Vegetable Section or contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210.

                                     Farmers taking a GHP/GAP class

HACCP Training Certification

Offered in Cooperation with West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry and Consumer Science and West Virginia Department of Agriculture. HACCP is an acronym for Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, a logical system for safe food handling that can be used throughout the food chain from initial production to final consumption. It targets the critical operations in production, processing, storage, and preparation which determine whether the food will be ultimately be safe to consume. Measures are taken to eliminate, reduce, or prevent any potential hazards. Currently, this training is mandatory for meat, seafood, and juice production, but with the pending implementation of Section 103 of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), food facilities will be required to (1) evaluate the hazards that could affect foods manufactured, processed, packed or held by such facility; (2) identify and implement preventative controls; (3) monitor the performance of those controls; (4) establish procedures for corrective actions should preventative controls fail; and (5) maintain records for such monitoring. For further information about the class, contact the Business Development Division at 304-558-2210.