How to become Red Tractor Farm Assured for Dairy
The Red Tractor Farm Assurance Dairy Scheme operates primarily through a First Purchaser structure, i.e. the First Purchasers become members of the Scheme, and take on the obligation to have all their supplying farms certified to Red Tractor Farm Assurance Dairy Standards via one or more of the Scheme’s appointed independent Certification Bodies.
Individual producer-processors (or indeed producers) may also join the scheme directly should they wish. Annual First Purchaser membership fees comprise a small fixed element plus a variable litre-age element.
To apply to join the scheme please click here.
Having joined, the First Purchaser’s next step will normally be to contract one or more of the Scheme appointed Certification Bodies to deliver the farm assessments and certification to their individual supplying farms. Arrangements, including fees, are negotiated directly between First Purchaser and Certification Body.
From the perspective of the producer, once their First Purchaser has commissioned a Certification Body, the assessor from the CB will make contact to arrange a date for the assessment. In advance, from either the First Purchaser or Certification Body, you will receive a copy of the Scheme Standards Manual, which should be read carefully to ensure all the requirements, are understood. The manual is set out to provide details of the operational rules of the Scheme and to clearly explain the requirements for each standard. In addition, the comprehensive appendices provide additional required and useful information; and templates for record keeping where required.
At the assessment, the assessor will check for compliance with all relevant standards. A Certification Manager will review the report of the assessment. If everything is satisfactory, the certificate will be awarded.
If the assessor notes any non-conformances, these will be notified to you at the time of the assessment. These must be rectified before your certificate can be awarded. Depending on the nature of the non-conformance(s), it may be possible to submit documentary evidence, e.g. photograph, to show that a fault has been rectified. In some circumstances though, a revisit may be necessary.
Once in place, the certificate will be renewed each year. Routine farm assessments will take place at least every 18 months. Should non-conformances be identified at one of these surveillance visits, provided they are not serious, you will be given a period to rectify them, typically 28 days. If the non-conformance is seriously and immediately compromising food safety, animal welfare or there is pollution apparent, then certificates will be suspended with immediate effect.
In addition to your routine surveillance visit, a programme of spot-checks is carried out to ensure the required standards are maintained at all times.
Assuring Beef on Dairy Farms
Since 1 April 2010, the Dairy Scheme has specified that all producers must also be fully assured for beef since calves not retained as replacements, and older cows at the end of their time as milk producers, do generally go on to be part of the beef supply chain. In England, the beef assurance will be to the Red Tractor Farm Assurance Beef and Lamb standards, whilst in the devolved region it will be to the relevant regional scheme - QMS (Scotland), FAWL (Wales) and NIBLFQAS (N Ireland).
For a general summary of the arrangements, please click on the link below, or for more specific details contact your milk purchaser, or their appointed Certification Body.
Link to assuring beef from the dairy herd – new arrangements.