During the 1990s, heightened attention to food safety across the United States and around the world prompted the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other industry organizations to develop Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). This voluntary program, including an independent audit offering, works with farmers to ensure their products are produced, handled, packed, and stored according to standardized food safety guidelines.
Whether you are a grower seeking CanadaGAPⓇ certification for your potato farm or a watermelon producer selling to large corporations that require GLOBALG.A.P. audits, Conservis provides the traceability you need without the headache that often comes with the paperwork trail.
Why get GAP certification?
According to research published by PLOS, two of the top reasons why growers follow good agricultural practices (GAP) and pursue certification include:
- Market access
- Reducing liability exposure
In addition to identifying these reasons for following GAP, this research also reports that over 60% of large farms (500+ acres) surveyed use some type of third party assessment tool for GAP. The larger the farm, the more likely the farm to seek GLOBALG.A.P. certification. In addition to GLOBALG.A.P., farms with specialty crops often also pursue commodity-specific assessments. From mushrooms to tomatoes to hops, there are certification processes and audit programs for just about anything you can grow, harvest, and take to market.
Accessing diverse and robust markets
When farmers have solid traceability and accurate records, they can take advantage of market segments that require certification. Conservis Customer Success Manager, Jamie Viramontes, knows first hand the difference GLOBALG.A.P. certification brings to a business. Before joining Conservis, she worked on her family farm managing food safety and quality control, where she was responsible for maintaining certification for their watermelon production and sales. Obtaining certification opened specific commercial doors for their growing operation.
"Obtaining certification significantly increases your market outlet, enabling growers to engage with larger retailers.”
Lucy, the Back Office Manager at Lewis Farms, says that even though they grow seed potatoes, traceability with CanadaGAPⓇ is valuable to their operation. The certification is an additional layer of security in the instance where they have extra product to move into the consumer chain as table potatoes instead of seed potatoes.
Maintaining their GAP certification keeps them as active members of the food supply chain and Conservis gives them the seamless traceability needed to help fulfill requirements. In their large farming enterprise that includes more than seed potatoes, they can still track data with ease, according to owner Tyler Buba. “Just so many moving pieces under one name help us dial in how each sector of the farm is performing,” said Tyler.
Reducing liability exposure and risk
Jamie also sees GAP certification as an extra insurance policy against liability. “You can sleep good at night knowing that your food is safe.” Henrik Christiansen, Manager Director of MacField Farms, appreciates the good sleep he is now getting after using Conservis for complete and reliable spray recordkeeping. “Conservis puts my mind at ease because we are collecting (in an electronic format) our spray diaries. That really is a keystone for me, having the electronic history of data.” Not only do growers rest easily with Conservis, but they also save time.
“Prior to Conservis, GLOBALG.A.P. certification was extremely stressful. With Conservis, it’s made it less stressful because it [takes] less time.”
Ryan Christensen, owner at BKR Farms in Idao, echos this. "As consumers get more and more concerned about where their food is coming from, they're going to require audits for me to prove that. With Conservis, I've already done that. I can already pull it up and say, ‘This is what I put on these potatoes, and nothing I put on is harmful or dangerous.’ With Conservis, I have the data sheets for chemicals, so everything is right there at my fingertips. That protects me, but it also protects the consumer knowing that they're eating safe, sustainable food, going forward."
Reduce risk, save time, and sleep better
Your region, your crop, and your intended markets all influence your GAP certification audit. No matter which you seek, Conservis mitigates the risk through unparalleled traceability, saves you time and energy, and puts your mind at ease that your product is ready for consumers.
“Consumers want to know where their fruit's made, where it's come from. Conservis enables us to provide that traceability to stakeholders that require that information, whether it be Freshcare or a veggie boy at Rocklea markets.”
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