How to Simplify your Organic Certification
Updated: Oct 22, 2020
If you’ve gotten your farm or ranch organically certified, you know that a lot of detailed record keeping is required. To ensure success, you need to be diligent about tracking, gathering, and storing data. Equally important, you need to be able to efficiently access years of archived information.
With Farmbrite, you can track, store, and access the data you need for certification – and recertification – all in one place. You can even update and access this data from the field using your smartphone.
Whether you’re collecting data for your first organic certification application, or have years of experience, Farmbrite can help. To learn how, let’s look at some Farmbrite features and explore how they can benefit specific aspects of the certification process.
In this USDA-provided Organic System Plan template, the first information requested after filling in your “State” and “County” is a map.
Creating a map of your farm is easy in Farmbrite. To ensure accuracy, Google maps are built in. Farmbrite helps you identify the borders of your farm or ranch and color code items like property boundaries, fields, beds, buildings as well as animal and growing enclosures.
Once you’ve marked these areas, you can print your customized map or save it as PDF to share – or to edit further in other applications.
In the certification application process you need to provide information about what you’re doing today, AND detail what’s taken place on your farm in the past. How quickly and easily can you access production practice information and management history for the last 3 years? Not everyone can immediately recall all the details from memory; some of us struggle simply to find where we saved specific files in the file cabinet or on the hard drive.
It’s a lot easier if all the information is in one place.
Farmbrite stores historical data – and so much more – and lets you access it in a variety of reports. In addition to general accounting reports, which provide visibility into things like “Profit & Loss” and “Spending by Category,” other reports are livestock- or crop-specific.
As a grower, every aspect of your internal and external traceability information can be stored in Farmbrite. This includes seed-to-harvest records; lot numbers, batch numbers, trace numbers, grade, and more. You can track soil treatments and amendments as well as pest and disease treatments with detailed notes and images.
Farmbrite walks you through the process of entering your information, prompting you for each piece of relevant data:
Once this information is stored, it can be easily accessed at any time through Farmbrite’s reporting feature. Below are the standard crop-specific reports included:
Nutrients & Amendments
Estimate Seed Order
To help readers visualize (and more fully grasp) your information – graphs are automatically generated:
Livestock operations are also fully supported, but through their own unique reports. From feed and nutrition records to grazing rotation practices, Farmbrite simplifies recording and organizing the vital details of any livestock business.
Here are the standard livestock reports included in Farmbrite:
Deaths & Losses
Treatments & Vaccinations
Fields being Grazed
We’re not know-it-alls. We don’t think we know everything about your business. And while Farmbrite is uniquely responsive to customer suggestions of what to add next, we also left the keys out for you. With custom reports, you can track anything unique to your operation – even those things not included in any of the standard reports listed above.
We believe this kind of flexibility is essential, as no one knows your business like you do.
Creating a new, customized report is as easy as clicking “New Report” and fleshing out the pertinent criteria. Once created and populated, the information in these reports is easily accessed right next to all the included standard reports.
Retrieving Your Information
All reports in Farmbrite can be printed or downloaded as a standard .csv (comma separated value) text file. These files can be read by any spreadsheet software, like Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets, as well as by text editing software including NotePad, NotePad++, and TextEdit.
This means you can easily copy all the data you captured in Farmbrite into other documents (including forms and applications) as necessary. You can also import this data into nearly any software, so you’re never constrained or locked into any one workflow or process.
In addition to maps and reports, many other areas of Farmbrite can also facilitate the kind of record keeping required for organic certification (and recertification).
Farmbrite’s farm schedule, calendar, and task list all capture day-to-day actions that are crucial parts of the production practices you need to track.
Everything you record under “Equipment” – from how long you’ve had a piece of machinery, to where it’s been used, and how it was cleaned – can be pertinent.
The QR codes Farmbrite associates with your fields, crops, equipment and animals can help you track pertinent information, both in the field and the office.
Additional Benefits: Easy In, Easy Out
Don’t like to type? You can enter data in Farmbrite using speech-to-text functionality that’s built into today’s computer and smartphone operating systems.
Once you enter data in Farmbrite, it’s at-hand whenever you’re near a computer or your smartphone. Whether you need to simply refresh your memory, copy and paste some text, or export some reports, the information you need is just a few clicks away.
Farmbrite also reduces the need to reenter information you’ve already entered once, increasing efficiency and minimizing the frustration of double entry.
What if Requirements Change?
Requirements for any kind of certification can change over time. Sometimes it seems like you’re dealing with moving targets. Not to worry. Farmbrite is adaptable. In addition to offering open-ended features like customized reports, Farmbrite itself is improving all the time, and we always welcome your input.
Wherever you are in the organic certification process, thank you for your good work. If we can help. Just let us know.
Not using Farmbrite yet? Try it for free today and see how it can streamline your organic certification or recertification process.