Specialty Crops Newsletter

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Specialty Crops

Specialty Crops Newsletter

May 2017

Erin Morris, Acting Deputy Administrator (email)

On April 25th AMS and the rest of our colleagues at USDA were pleased to welcome Secretary Sonny Perdue to the Department. As the Secretary literally rolled up his sleeves and shared his vision for USDA, one point especially resonated with the work that the AMS Specialty Crops Program (SCP) has undertaken as part of our efforts to continuously improve how we provide services to the produce industry. 

We look forward to supporting the Secretary and his vision to better serve our stakeholders, the specialty crops industry and those that enjoy all that it offers. 


GroupGAP Program Brings New Market Opportunities for Farmers

Amanda Meikle, Internal Auditor Audrey Draper, USDA SCI Audit Branch Sandy Edwards, Group Leader

In April 2016, the Specialty Crops Program’s Specialty Crops Inspection Division (SCI) launched GroupGAP, a new food safety certification program that is part of our USDA Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) suite of services. Our voluntary USDA GAP programs help verify that produce growers and handlers have taken measures to reduce the risk of contamination. Commercial buyers look for USDA GAP-certified suppliers to source safe specialty products. While larger operations can devote the resources needed to become GAP certified, some smaller entities cannot.  Until now. GroupGAP allows farmers, food hubs, and marketing organizations of all sizes to band together and pool resources to achieve USDA GAP certification.  

USDA Hotline Helps the Fruit & Vegetable Industry Understand What Makes a “Good Delivery”

Tony Velasquez

Did you know there is a free service offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) that has resulted in an estimated savings of more than $140 million to the produce industry in the past three years?

If not, Jose (Tony) Velasquez (picture above), a Senior Marketing Specialist with AMS’s Specialty Crops Program (SCP) wants to give you the facts about the “Good Delivery” Hotline. Good Delivery is the term used in F.O.B. sales to describe goods that were shipped in suitable condition and should arrive at the contracted destination without abnormal deterioration. The hotline is a free service offered by SCP’s  Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Division.


AMS Website Works for Specialty Crops Program

Dan Friar - Web Specialist, AMS Public Affairs

In 2015, AMS redesigned its website with the goal of providing a premier informational tool for the agricultural industry. Through careful planning, thoughtful design, and a primary focus on user experience and usability, we've taken the best of government expertise and put it into creating our new website.