For Growers: Sustainability and Simplification
The ultimate goal of GAP Connections is to minimize your burden. Your focus should be on the crop, on the employees, and on the land. We provide a single location for centralized information. Here, GAP standards are streamlined and universally accepted by member companies. Collaboration is encouraged, partnerships produced, and educational resources made accessible. GAP Connections seeks to minimize inconvenience and maximize compliance.
GAP Connections exists to connect farmers of all types to education, resources, and tools. We can cater training for all areas of agriculture, including sectors outside of the tobacco industry. For growers, we offer:
Grower ID System
The Grower ID System which helps farmers easily keep track of and share their GAP compliance records with purchasing companies assigns each member a unique ID number that is stored in a secured database. An ID card with a QR code for scanning allows immediate documentation of training with no need to keep paper records. Growers can use their grower ID number to enter the GAPC database and update their profile to include information such as addresses, farm acreage, and contact information, view their GAP training transcripts, review a report of contracting companies granted access to their information, and much more.
GAP Training Events
With more than 10,000 growers across 19 states trained on good agricultural practices each year, our training programs offer attendees training credits in crop, environmental, and labor management best practices. Specific training events are available for U.S. Tobacco GAP Program members and topics are chosen each year by GAP Connections and tailored by our Extension Partners in each state to best serve the region. These meetings generally last around 2-hours with plenty scheduled throughout the year in a variety of states – all accessible via GAP Connections' calendar.
Advanced Labor Training
For 2015 and beyond, GAP Connections, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Farm Labor Practice Group (FLPG), offer Advanced Training Modules and access to the Agricultural Labor Management Guide. This training gives growers a chance to learn more about the agricultural labor laws and requirements and maintain federal compliance.
In a culture rife with standards and requirements that are both variable and numerous, GAP Connections pursues simplicity and ease for growers. In order to help minimize burden and maximize compliance within the industry, we regularly compile resources and links to benefit growers on our Resource Page.
Assessments and Compliance
Beginning in 2014, a pilot program was started to assess the use of Good Agricultural Practices on member farms involved in the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program. The assessments are administered through GAP Connections and conducted by a neutral third party assessment entity. The assessments will give growers a chance to demonstrate their commitment to producing a quality crop while using best management practices to ensure they are protecting the environment and providing a safe workplace for their employees.