Plus equals assurance


In Livestock3 Minutes

A newly launched assurance programme reflects growing consumer demand for evidence-based environmental and social standards around red meat production.

New Zealand Farm Assurance Programme Plus (NZFAPP) is a new voluntary standard which builds on the existing NZ Farm Assurance Programme (NZFAP). It is a high-level sustainability programme, which includes the management of people, farm and natural resources and biosecurity. It is to be launch on October 1.

NZ Farm Assurance Incorporated (NZFAI) general manager Megan Mounsey-Smith says development of NZAPP began in 2018 under the Red Meat Profit Partnership, in response to customer and consumer expectation and government regulations.

“It is about demonstrating and communicating to NZ and an international audience that the NZ red meat and wool sectors are farming sustainably and ethically.”

She says 30 farmers have piloted the programme so far and feedback has been positive.

Many of those in the pilot were already doing some or most of the work and Megan says it was a matter of recording and providing evidence to support their management practices.

To take part in the programme, farmers need to have completed NZFAP, the foundation programme. They can then apply to become a member of NZFAPP and will carry out an initial self-assessment checklist to determine what aspects of their business they need to work on. They are then given up to three years to meet the required standards and be audited by an AsureQuality independent auditor.

The cost of the audit is covered by NZFAI member companies with whom farmers have a relationship.

Megan says a comprehensive handbook has been developed to support farmers as they work towards their NZFAPP certification, along with a number of other tools and resources which are under development.

The programme is aligned with Beef + Lamb New Zealand’s farm plan to avoid duplication and provide tools and resources to support farmers in working towards meeting the Standards.

Megan emphasises that while NZFAPP aligns with several regulations, they are not regulators.

“The new programme is an entirely voluntary standard that has been developed to support access to markets internationally.”

“It is very much market driven with consumers increasingly wanting to know where their food is coming from and how it is being produced.

She says if farmers want to find out more about the programme, they should speak to their meat or wool processing company.

NZFAI is an incorporated society that is a collaboration of 16 meat processing companies, 23 wool companies, Beef + Lamb NZ and Deer Industry NZ.