Multiple farm audits will be eliminated for Scottish cereal growers who have other enterprises such as growing vegetables, fruit and potatoes following an agreement by Scottish Quality Crops (SQC).
SQC facilitates cooperation between SQC certification provider, Acoura, and certification and audit business NSF Agriculture.
Currently farmers who grow cereals in Scotland mainly have their crop audited to the Scottish Quality Crops Assurance scheme standards and fresh produce audited to the Red Tractor scheme standards and other linked schemes, resulting in two separate farm audits and inspections in many cases, according to Scottish Quality Crops.
A few Scottish cereal growers who also grow fresh produce have opted to have their cereals audited under the Red Tractor Scheme to achieve a single farm visit.
Andrew Moir, chairman of SQC, said: “Multiple farm audits absorb farmers’ valuable time; this new deal brokered by SQC will allow all crop schemes to be covered by a single audit.”
SQC said its aim is to bring all Scottish cereal growers back into the SQC scheme from the Red Tractor Combinable Crops scheme.
“I believe the SQC logo showing the mark of Scottish Quality standards will enhance and assist in promoting Scottish crops both here and abroad,” said Mr Moir.
The Red Tractor scheme is said to be in full support of the new SQC agreement.
NFU Scotland president, Allan Bowie, said: “As farmers we have to work hard to achieve farm assurance accreditation. Farm assurance is a testament to the quality of products produced on Scottish farms.
“No farmer wants more inspections than absolutely necessary so this move by SQC will be welcomed. A single inspection for growers can now deliver SQC and Red Tractor Assurance.
“The Union is working with SQC to ensure that the supply chain values our provenance story and the effort we put in to deliver farm assurance.”