If there’s one thing farmers want less of, it’s paperwork. However, in the current climate of “don’t just say you’re doing the right thing — prove it,” verification programs and the corresponding administration are on the rise.
Verification and best management practice programs are not new for Canadian farmers, from the Environmental Farm Plan, to quality assurance programs, and more. The agriculture industry is moving forward with a sustainability verification program, but instead of adding significant work, the program will incorporate existing program participation, eliminating doubling-up of surveys, questionnaires, and records.
The federal government has awarded $560,000 to the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to develop the Canadian Agri-Food Sustainability Initiative (CASI), a program to establish a single portal for sustainability sourcing, plus run several pilot projects, surrounding support for Canadian agriculture sustainability efforts.
Bronwynne Wilton, of Wilton Consulting Group, will head up the program on behalf of CFA to create this single window for data on the sustainability of the Canadian agri-food supply chain. It will eventually be a forum where producers and processors can share information and connect with new networks interested in sustainability, Wilton says.
The initiative will also serve as a hub to benchmark and track the sustainability of the Canadian agri-food industry compared to international standards, and support Canadian food producers’ use of label claims about the safety and quality of their food products.
Listen to Bronwynne Wilton explain about what CASI is and how producers and processors will use the program: