GAP Connections' third-party assessments offer growers a chance to demonstrate their commitment to producing a quality crop while using best management practices to protect the environment and provide a safe workplace. Assessments include document review, a farm tour, and worker interviews.
Participation benefits you as a grower in many ways:
Third party assessments provide assurance to customers that Good Agricultural Practices are being followed in the production of the agricultural commodity they are buying. This enhances the value of that agricultural product in the eyes of customers and helps the whole agricultural industry.
Assessments benefit the vast majority of growers who want to produce a high-quality crop in a sustainable manner by "leveling the playing field". They help ensure that no one gains short term advantage by using poor, unsustainable practices.
Assessments can reduce your risk for violation of labor or environmental regulations by identifying concerns early and providing guidance in correcting them
Preparing for your GAP Assessment
The best way to prepare for your GAP Assessment is to make recordkeeping a part of your daily routine. Keeping the required records up-to-date and in an organized manner that is easy for review will make the assessment visit smoother and more efficient. Below are some tips to help you prior to the assessor visiting your farm:
- Complete your grower profile online. (Sign-in to the Grower ID System and click on "Profile." Complete both the User Info and Farm and Labor Info requested.)
- Organize records and have them in one place ready for review
- Collect the Grower ID's that are involved in your operation (Associated Grower ID's). These can also be added to your Profile online.
GAP Assessment Terminology
Grower Members with a Grower ID must grant permission for their GAP assessment results to be released to their contracting companies. Permission is granted through completing and signing an Electronic Data Release Form and returning it to GAP Connections.
Data is only released with the growers' permission and only to those companies the grower is currently engaged with in a business contract. This release agreement covers data accumulated on the GAP Connections database from the date the grower registered for a Grower ID and all future data accumulated in the database unless the grower revokes this data release agreement by contacting GAP Connections (giving 30 working days for this revocation to take effect).
Associated Grower ID's
Associated Grower ID's are the Grower ID numbers of individuals that farm together. If you farm with your father or son and the following requirements are met below you can associate those Grower ID's and have the assessment results count for the entire operation including all those involved.
Requirements for Associated Growers:
- The same labor force, whether family or hired, works in all fields and if hired is paid by the same person or entity for all work.
- Decisions about management for fields are made jointly; there are not designated fields for each grower in which that grower makes separate management decisions and markets the tobacco separately.
An alternate authorization form gives permission for someone to speak on behalf of the grower during a GAP Connections' Assessment if the grower cannot be present. By signing this form, the grower waives any objections to the results of the audit based on the responses provided by the alternate, gives consent and authorizes the third-party auditor and GAP Connections to discuss results of the assessment with the alternate, and understands and agrees that the authorization form shall be operative and continue unless the grower notifies GAP Connections and revokes the authorization.
Your GAP Assessment Results
The GAP Connections' Assessment results will be shared with the contracting company(s) whom randomly chose you for the assessment. The results will also be available for three years for any other company who wishes to view them and has your permission to do so via a Data Release.
You can view the summary of the results online at when you sign-in to the Grower ID System. The results will be posted within the next month. The assessments are not intended to provide a score card or a pass/fail grade. They are designed to help identify issues and areas where improvements could be made to improve your GAP compliance. Your assessment results will be interpreted by the individual companies and any follow-ups will be through your contracting companies.