Third party auditing has existed in the agriculture community for some time. Most of these audits have been for fruit and vegetable farms to address food safety and handling.
Today’s consumers want to know their food is safe, wholesome and nutritious. They also want a voice in how their food is produced. Despite being several generations removed from farms and production practices, many want to know that livestock used to make food products are cared for in a humane and environmentally-sustainable manner.
One way food retailers have responded to consumers’ demands is third party auditing. The two ways this typically happens in Wisconsin is through:
- Conservation certification of farming practices within specific watersheds.
- Animal welfare and management practices.
As subjects of these audits, farmers need to be included in discussions and provide input regarding the real-world application of requirements. As WFBF enters its policy development season, farmers need to discuss this topic. More information on third party audits can be found within our issue backgrounder.
All of this brings us to the original question: What do you think about third party audits?
Here are some additional questions to answer:
- Are third party audits a positive or negative thing for farmers? Why?
- What are the potential benefits or draw backs from third party audits?
- Who should control the requirements within the third party audits?
- Should Farm Bureau be involved in these third party audit discussions-criteria-requirements? If so, how? Local, county, state or federal?
- Should third party audit certification be mandated in some sectors of agriculture or voluntary?
- Who can access the information or data provided by farmers from the third party audits?
We welcome your input by utilizing this page’s comments section. Please note which county Farm Bureau you are a member of.
Please note, in order to filter out spam emails, your comment will not immediately post to the page. Rest assured, it will be posted and added to the Wisconsin Farm Bureau policy development dialogue. Thank you
JOE BAGEL says
Third party audits, as the are with financial statements, can add great credibility to compliance with rules and regulations. They would be overall positive for farmers. The perceived drawback is that such audits would be costly. However, they would actually be an investment in restoring credibility in the end consumers – parties who have doubted food safety and associated producing risks (for example, farm pollution). The system of third party audits should be set by a federal agency (see, for example, how the Securities and Exchange Commission helped capital formation and markets by mandating audits).