Little Red Tractor schemes have over 450 trained inspectors working across nine different assurance schemes. Each inspector has been trained in his/her specialised field. Angharad Simkiss works for Farm Inspection Services, and carries out inspections for beef, sheep and cereals, on behalf of the FABBL Farm Assurance Scheme. Angharad had to complete training and attain formal qualifications in an agricultural related subject. She also has two years’ experience in livestock and arable production. She is one of 65 inspectors who each visits between 10 and 12 farms each week; on average each livestock inspection lasts approximately 2 hours. Angharad inspects the farm recordsAngharad and her colleagues are fully trained to ensure the farm visits are carried out impartially and to a consistent standard. “I follow the same criteria on every farm, regardless of its size and the number of livestock,” said Angharad. Once on the farm she carries out an audit of every standard by thoroughly inspecting the farm business. “The main areas to inspect are the livestock, checking that they are healthy and being looked after appropriately,” she explains. She inspects the livestock’s housing to ensure it is safe and provides enough space for them to move around freely. She also checks the quality of animal feed and its storage conditions. Angharad inspects and checks all records of animal identification, movements, feed supplies and staff training. Before the inspection is completed Angharad checks the veterinary treatments. “If farmers do not meet the standards then they are not granted certification and must reapply for an inspection,” she said. 1.4 million cattle and over 6 million sheep are currently assured under the FABBL scheme.

Working with the Farmer

Duncan Howlett works as a self employed assessor for CMi Certification, who assess some 20,000 farm throughout England & Wales for Cereals, Produce, Livestock, & Chicken under the British Farm Standard, Little Red Tractor, on behalf of the Assured Combinable Crops Scheme, Assured Produce Scheme, ACC Beef & Lamb (to ABM Standards), Assured Chicken Production and Farm Assured Welsh Livestock

Duncan has over 13 years experience in Arable, Livestock & Produce production as well as 15 years as a Basis and Facts qualified agronomist and farm trader with two of the countries largest agricultural merchants. “Having now been assessing farms for over 5 years I have seen a great improvement in the general standards across all the schemes, on the 400 plus farm I visit each year” says Duncan. “Main areas covered on the cereals scheme are grain, chemical and fertiliser storage, spray records, application rates and general hygiene records. Operators and Advisors qualifications are also important” he says.

CMi employ over 70 assessors, both full and part time and include Organics, Tesco Natures Choice, EUREPGAP, Fritolay & Leaf in its portfolio of assurance schemes assessed for customers. A UKAS accredited certification body supplying independent assessments to EN45011 standard, CMi is the largest in the arable sector, which is further complimented and enhanced, by its sister company, Scottish Food Quality Certification, who cover a similar range of schemes in the arable and livestock sector in Scotland.