Program helps farmers develop good practices

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As tobacco producers make their way to receiving stations, chances are they will be encouraged to sign up for a Grower ID through an organization called GAP Connections.

GAP stands for Good Agri-cultural Practices, and GAP Connect-ions is a nonprofit organization aiming to create awareness and cultivate positive environmental and social impact through good agricultural practices in the tobacco industry.

Over the past growing season, tobacco producers have been required to be Tobacco GAP certified.  The next step is to sign up for a Grower ID through GAP Connections.

According to a recent news release from GAP Connections, the Grower ID System provides a secure and easy way for tobacco farmers to document and share their good agricultural practices training associated with the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program.

Through the Grower ID System, growers will be assigned a unique Grower ID number that will be used to track GAP training attendance and generate an electronic record of that attendance that can be shared with companies that purchase their tobacco and need to verify that the crop was grown using good agricultural practices.

Use of the Grower ID System to document training will greatly simplify documentation of training compared to the former system of paper certificates kept by the farmer.

Growers can visit www.gapconnections.com to register in the ID system online.  If online access is limited, please feel free to stop by the Carroll County Extension Office to register.  After registering, growers will receive their unique Grower ID number and Grower ID card.

The Grower ID card will be scanned at training meetings starting this year.  This system will provide an immediate record of their training that, with the permission of the farmers, will be made available to participating companies that buy their tobacco.  Registered farmers can also use their Grower ID number to log into the Grower ID System to view and print their training records at any time.

In addition to access to the Grower ID system, the website provides numerous resources aimed at helping tobacco farmers follow the guidelines of the U.S. Tobacco GAP Program, including a downloadable copy of the existing program’s guidelines and recordkeeping checklist and templates.

GAP Connections is funded by tobacco purchasing groups and others with interest in the production of U.S. tobacco.  Programs promoting Good Agricultural Practices are delivered through partnerships between GAP Connections and university Extension services in most of the tobacco-producing states.

GAP Connections centers on facilitating educational opportunities to tobacco farmers about crop production, managing land use, protecting the environment, maintaining a safe environment for their laborers, and more.

To learn more about the GAP Connections program please call 865-622-4606, visit www.gapconnections.com, or contact the Carroll County Cooperative Extension Service at (502) 732-7030.

Dates of interest

Feb. 6: Master Stocker, session one of eight,  Enterprise Budgeting and Cost of Production, 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.

Feb. 17: Private Pesticide Applicator Certification, 1:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.

Feb. 20: Master Stocker, session two of eight, Health Management, 6:30 p.m., Carroll County Extension Office.


Christin Herbst is the Carroll County Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to Christin.Herbst@uky.edu.