Following a number of food scares during the 1980's and 1990's farm assurance schemes were launched as a means to reassure consumers of the safety and traceability of their food.
The UK is a key player when it comes to farm assurance schemes. The Genesis QA scheme comprises a range of standards that cover best practice methods of production, animal welfare, traceability, legislation, food safety and environmental issues.
Whilst producers are required to meet the standards specific to their business, Genesis QA assured producers actually go one step further.
Whilst many assurance schemes just target specific areas applicable only to the enterprise that they are looking to assure, the Genesis QA scheme is different because it has a Whole Farm Module. This module applies to all members and covers aspects of farming that are common to all enterprises, i.e. health and safety, animal welfare, environmental etc. This reduces the risk of standards varying between enterprises, i.e. irrespective of the type of animal the Genesis QA scheme ensures a baseline standard is met, transportation being an example. If a higher level of criteria is required for a specific species, an additional standard is included in the species-specific module.
If a livestock producer uses pesticides on feed crops or fertiliser on grassland he will be required to maintain application records and also store chemicals and fertilisers responsibly, and in accordance with legislation, to avoid detrimental impact on the environment. Similarly arable only producers who use organic waste are required to complete and implement a Manure Management Plan.