Monday, November 02, 2009

Conducting farm audits

I'm often asked what's involved in carrying out audits on farms or other regional businesses. There's a whole heap of questions tangled up there because it totally depends what the audit or inspection is for and who requires it to be undertaken.

I don't get involved in financial audits – my focus is on environmental audits, organic certification, food safety, compliance with the Egg Corp Assured program, accreditation for the Free Range Farmers Association and most recently, compliance inspections for the Victorian Farmers' Markets Association. I also organise and conduct flora and fauna surveys to provide species information for a variety of clients. (Don't know how much good it does but at least people will now what was here before the poor buggers went extinct). Unfortunately most people around here don't understand (or care) about biodiversity - it's all about chasing dollars.

The most demanding and time consuming audits I undertake are those environmental audits which require certification to ISO 14001. If the business is conducted on several sites, the audit could easily take days and possibly weeks, involving heaps of paperwork, soil sample analysis and checking through prior land use.

Thankfully most inspections/audits can be completed in a few hours and usually in under an hour if it's a simple compliance issue for a specific purpose – such as VFMA or FRFA accreditation.

I try to only work within Victoria because I have too much to do here to undertake many inter-state audits. But it's all interesting, seeing different approaches to how businesses are conducted.

No comments: