USDA Voluntary G.A.P. Program


By Tawnya Sawyer

The USDA recently recognized aquaponics under their voluntary Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) program through the Specialty Crops Inspection (SCI) division. This program is in its pilot phase for audits and certification of selected aquaponics farms through the end of 2020. Having a set of guidelines for aquaponics helps to better align with the specifics of growing in soil-less media, using filtered fish waste for nutrient solution, and bio-integration of fish and plants in a growing facility.
Prior to this pilot program, aquaponic farm audits were subject to standard GAP guidelines designed for produce crops grown in a field or cultivated in a greenhouse. This created challenges for auditors trying to modify or interpret guidelines for other growing methods that don’t align or apply to aquaponics. By launching this pilot program, the USDA has indicated that aquaponics is viewed as a commercially viable industry worthy of its own audit guidelines and food safety certification. Find out more about the USDA’s Aquaponics GAP Pilot Program here.


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