The Farm Plan works. All produce. All farm sizes. Everywhere.
Answers and Articles
ABOUT THE FARM PLAN
WHO, WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, WHY AND HOW
In early 2012, Juli Ogden's pack house required certification in 90 days. That urgency caused her to intensely study food safety rules and write a system for her farm.
At the time Juli had to do 100% of the orchard work, care for a busy real estate practice, create and host a world-wide real estate radio show called "Real Estate, Real Advice" and her husband was scheduled for a major spinal sugery in 10 days. There was too much on her plate.
Cherry orchards get one payday per year. Not getting this food safety job done meant no farm income for a year at a time when her priority was taking care of her husband, second came the orchard with the real estate practice coming in last.
She had to figure out what this was all about, find the rules, create a system and pass the audit.
The rules were spread out among a number of publications. She read them many times - in Steve's hospital room - fitting the rules into a regular day on the farm
She passed, her field man saw the system and asked her to help his growers. Updated at least annually, The Farm Plan meets the fast changing rules.
ANSWER IT, NOW PROVE IT
GLOBALG.A.P. requires proof. Forms, logs, policies and risk do that for you - and all are provided by the Farm Plan. They want your farm to be clean. It probably already is.
GLOBALG.A.P. requires you track and store chemicals carefully. You are probably doing that, too. The Farm Plan is your guide to certification.
IN A LOCAL PRODUCE DEPARTMENT
I was very recently, at a large chain grocery store that sells only certified crops. I asked a woman if I could take her picture. She was very pleased. I was not.
The picture shows what I frequently hear in my workshops. "I pay extra and work harder to prove my crops are clean. At the grocery store people handle and sneeze all over the produce. What is the point?"
Seeing this dog in a cart someone else would soon use for their food really bothered me.
So, what is the point of food safety?
GLOBALG.A.P. began about 20 years ago in Germany in response to a group of school children who died from food poisoning. Grocery stores agreed to sell only certified produce. This was a movement that swept across Europe and eventually came to the US. It is a confusing system, written in 'world english' and is far from perfect. But the intent is to save lives. It has a long way to go, but many of the practices do save lives.
YOU ARE ALREADY DOING MUCH OF THE WORK
GLOBALG.A.P. requires proof. Forms, logs, policies, risk assessments provide quite a bit of that proof. They require that you document the management of your chemicals. You are probably doing some of that too. Our checklist ensure you get the entire job done right.
ONE FARMER’S OPINION
When first learning about GLOBALG.A.P. I felt like a child looking up at my Dad while he told me” do it, or else”. That ‘or else’ meant big trouble. No farm dog. Massive paperwork. Who was behind this?
In response to grower questions, our packing house held a food safety training day. We were handed a confusing 328 page binder of regulations that repeated itself, was full of strange words and was presented by a highly educated person who had no clue how to talk to a farmer. We had to do everything it said it and pass an annual audit during harvest IF we wanted to sell our crops. That room held 70 irritated, threatened growers.
All farmers are educated, some in higher education and some in the field. We learn from experienced farmers who know how to raise a crop correctly and safely. We learn new methods at grower meetings. We follow many rules. We do not want to raise a crop that causes illness or death. We are willing to make changes to sell our crop to the world market.
Computer experts should not write farm manuals. Policies must be written for their audience.
In my work history I served as a deputy sheriff retiring after eighteen years of service. I was trained and skilled in report writing. I wrote hundreds. Reports need to be written in a way that can be used and understood in a jury trial.
Jurors have various degrees of education, ranging from a master’s degree down to a basic elementary education. Each juror has an equal vote in the matter being heard and because of that I wrote my reports so the least educated juror would have a full understanding of the events. This worked fine for the more educated jurors, making the process easier.
The Farm Plan answers the questions, making the whole thing much easier. I’m more than impressed.