Producers are provided with an eighteen month Bord Bia Quality Assurance certification status, with an annual audit conducted by an approved official to ensure that the farmer continues to meet the required standards.
Audits take in the region of approximately ninety minutes, but the length can vary depending on a number of factors, including the farmer’s level of preparation for the audit. Spot audits can also occur and Bord Bia claim that these volume of these inspections are less than 1% of all audits carried out.
Preparing for these audits is paramount and there are a number of items that should be reviewed on your farm to prepare for the arrival of the official.
Again, we are only providing a number of key guidelines here and you should refer to the SBLAS Producer Manual.
Farm Yard Checks
Relevant signs must be displayed at the entry point to the farm.
You must have a sign that restricts the entry of unauthorised personnel. You must also alert visitors to observe biosecurity measures and the availability of the safety statement.
Footwear disinfectant facilities are paramount. Generally, farmers use barrels with water and a disinfectant. There must also be a sign above the footbath identifying it as a disinfectant point for visitors.
Meal must be stored in a safe environment at all times where it is safe from vermin, with a silo or meal bin deemed as acceptable. If meal is stored loose or in bags then you must be able to show that it is kept in such a way that it is safe from all vermin.
If livestock are not housed at the time of your audit, it is expected that the housing will have been washed and disinfected thoroughly.
Medicines should and must be kept safely away from animals and indeed people at all times. The cabinet where the medicines are stored needs to be clearly identified with appropriate signage.
The medicine storage must be lockable and signed. Also, a complete and up-to-date First Aid kit is needed in the yard and must be presented to the auditor.
Another point to remember is that having a little jar marked ‘Used Sharps’ for used needles is a must. It can be disposed to your vet when it starts to fill up.
Again the same rules apply to chemicals as apply to medicines. The storage area must be lockable and have a sign indicating what is stored there.
It is expected that the farmer will have in place some sort of vermin control, usually in the form of poison traps.
Bear in mind that these traps should only be accessible for the intended target and you will need a sign for each one.
The sign is to be placed above it so that it is clear where each trap is located. A record must be kept of when you replenish the poison in each trap. Keep the rest of the poison in the Chemical store.
General safety and tidiness
It is never any harm to go around the yard and land and check all is okay at any time. Things like open lagoons or dangerous fences, plastic blowing around the place, oil, or old filters left lying about should be all tidied up.
- Is the herd register up-to-date?
- You can use the ‘Blue Book’ or make the switch to digital using Agfood.ie or a number of approved DAFM Farm Software packages.
- Have you all the cattle passports?
- Have all animal movements been recorded? Do you have all the supporting documentation? And as for knackery receipts?
- Animal remedies purchase-record.
- Is this filled in? Does it match everything in the medicine cabinet?
- Animal remedies-use record.
- Is this filled in? Is the date used given? If there is a withdrawal period, you must enter the actual date, not just say ‘28 days and the animal will have fully withdrawn’. Is the animal(s) treated recorded, i.e tag number?
- Animal health plan brought up to date?
- Is the feed purchase record filled in? Use your feed dockets to complete this sector.
- Is the home-produced feedstuffs record filled in?
- Have you a record of the pet cat and dog being wormed? This also applies to any working dog on the farm or in the house that could have access to the yard or lands.
- Have you recorded slurry/manure import, where applies?
- Have you designated areas for vermin traps/poison traps? Remember to do a farmyard sketch of the bait points where required.
- Have you recorded the rodenticides used on your farm?
- In terms of using pesticides, are they stored securely in original packing and are person(s) applying professional use pesticides officially registered with the Department? Have you recorded the relevant data?
- Have you provided the sustainability survey information? ( This is one of the most recent requirements for the inspection)
- Have you a Farm Safety Risk Assessment of Farm Safety Statement document prepared and up-to-date?
- Is there a first aid kit available if required?
For more information, see here.