GAP Certification For Carolina Tobacco Growers

When you hear the acronym GAP, or Good Agricultural Practices, the first thing that comes to mind is fruits and vegetables. But, GAP is becoming more and more prevalent in tobacco production. George Scott, Vice President of leaf for Universal Leaf North America will be speaking on GAP for tobacco production next week at the Annual Tobacco Day in Smithfield, North Carolina. Scott explains that GAP is becoming more important:

“Even more so as we move in to a regulated environment throughout the world in terms of tobacco.”

Scott says the work that various state agencies have put into the GAP protocol will help producers:

“I am very proud of the US industry as well as the leadership in NC Ag Department and NCFB, for pulling this program together to get a standardized GAP program in place for the US growers. It will in turn help the growers to be more marketable worldwide. All of the companies were asking the same types of questions to the growers but in different formats and many growers sell to multiple companies so they were having to produce the same info in a different way. Now with the standard GAP program they will be able to do a one size fits all approach.”

What Scott will explain in his talk is that tobacco growers will have to be certified in GAP, depending on the company they contract with:

“Training will kick this off with the growers. It will be conducted by the university personnel that will start the first part of December. Growers may be required to attend these by the companies they supply. They will go thru the gamut of GAP so that the grower will be certified.”

And maintaining a GAP certification will be akin to the continuing education credits for other certifications, according to Scott:

“The idea is for the university personnel to meet with the industry on an annual basis to determine what areas of focus are needed going forward.”

Scott explains that this certification will help the tobacco industry as a whole:

“The whole industry is happy we are going down this path. We think that it will give the US a competitive advantage in the world market.”

George Scott with Universal Leaf will be one of the speakers at this year’s Tobacco Day on Thursday, December 6th at the Johnston County Extension Center near Smithfield. For more information on the Tobacco Day,click here. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.