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Press Release

Partners Chosen for SAFHER Development

Appian Contributor
January 30, 2023

System for Agriculture, Food, Health, E-Inspections, and Registration Represents Collaboration and Innovation for States

January 30, (York, PA) -- The next step in developing the System for Agriculture, Food, Health, E-Inspections, and Registration or SAFHER was announced today. After nearly three years of stakeholder discovery and a rigorous RFP procurement process, the SAFHER project team and governing council have chosen Precise Software Solutions, Inc. (Precise) as the implementation manager and Appian as the technology platform for the next phase of SAFHER development.

SAFHER will be a state-of-the-art web-based platform that can be adopted by state or local regulatory programs to capture their licensing, inspections, complaints, compliance and enforcement and reporting. This platform will support a myriad of programs including retail food, agriculture, animal food, manufactured food, seed, pesticides and fertilizer. 

The SAFHER procurement process, guided by a governing council that represents all potential stakeholders has been focused on end-user inclusion. SAFHER advocates say this discovery process was critical to supporting long-term change in governmental oversight and foundational in the success of SAFHER. 

“Doing a proper analysis and including all stakeholders while continually involving them in discussion helps with standardization and lowers the ongoing cost of our development by using a consortium,” says Jon Adkins, CIO for the West Virginia Department of Agriculture. 

Adkins adds, though, that the work requiring continued stakeholder engagement is just beginning.

“There's no better way to develop software that will truly change government than to be consistent in your involvement and feedback throughout the development and the implementation lifecycles,“ Adkins adds.

In addition to identifying needs during the vendor selection process, it was critical to find partners who align with SAFHER’s vision and guiding principles, understand the obstacles stakeholders have, and encourage continual process. Precise and Appian were standouts.

Precise brings significant regulatory problem-solving experience coupled with a belief in the mission. “SAFHER's mission is to develop a safer, more collaborative regulatory world. This mission touches every citizen in this country, including our families, our teams, and our communities,” says Zhensen Huang, CEO of Precise. “It impacts the safety of the food that's being served on our kitchen tables every day. We're very excited to be part of this great journey alongside AFDO, the state participants and other stakeholders in supporting such an impactful mission.”

“Appian is well equipped to integrate current and future systems that will provide consistency and coordination between state and local governments,” says Vishal Hanjan, Industry Lead, U.S. State and Local Government at Appian. “This includes licensing registration inspections, managing complaints, and all aspects  of compliance and administration. We’ve seen success in our work with the FDA, the major stakeholder in the SAFHER project, and we are eager to bring this expertise to SAFHER.”

“SAFHER is the best game in town. It won’t reflect what a vendor thinks we need or what a single state working with a single vendor has developed. It’s going to be developed based on our collective needs,” explains Earl Thornton, member of the project governing council and IT Director of the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry.  

“Designed from the ground up, it will provide what we all need to regulate within the agricultural and food safety arenas,” Thornton continues. “It’s based on state-of-the-art-technology that will benefit us today and into the future. It will also benefit from the best ideas of so many organizations and will continue to grow as the regulatory landscape changes over time.”

SAFHER is funded by an almost $18 million FDA cooperative agreement with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) that spans three years and will allow the FDA and regulatory partners to work together in new ways by leveraging technology to share one another’s work, data, and processes. Robust and interconnected regulatory data management systems will advance our partnerships to ensure the optimal use of resources and maximize the impact on public safety. This new data management system will allow regulatory programs across the country access to cutting-edge technology a state or local agency could not typically afford on their own.

About Precise

Precise Software Solutions, Inc. (Precise), an SBA 8(a) program participant, is an innovative small business with a proven record of success delivering agile and innovative solutions to government organizations so they can perform their public mission more effectively.

About Appian

Appian is a software company that automates business processes. The Appian AI Process Platform includes everything you need to design, automate, and optimize even the most complex processes, from start to finish. The world's most innovative organizations trust Appian to improve their workflows, unify data, and optimize operations—resulting in better growth and superior customer experiences.

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