Both organisations believe now is the right time to conduct to ensure assurance schemes are fit for purpose in the modern farming environment, for both their members and for home and international markets.
The review, which will seek to capture views from across the whole industry, including farmers, growers, merchants and processors, will examine:
- How farm assurance can deliver value back to scheme members
- How standards are developed to meet the evolving needs of members, the markets they serve, sector diversity and in appreciation of the global marketplace
- How assurance members are engaged with (including the development of standards), inspected and how technology is used in assurance now and in future
- How assurance schemes can and should fit with regulation and government schemes to best serve members
Inevitably Red Tractor will be considered as part of this process, as it is the dominant assurance scheme in many key sectors, but this is only a part of the purpose of the review, which is focused on all areas of farm assurance.
Both the NFU and AHDB agree that, as it is almost 25 years since the creation of Red Tractor, there is a need to step back and ask some fundamental questions about all farm assurance schemes to ensure the needs of farmers are met.
The next steps include appointing an independent commission to oversee the review and ensure full transparency and the opportunity for farmers and industry to have their say.
Further details will be announced in due course.