Audit trail exercises for crops

Organic inspectors are required to conduct at least one traceback and one mass balance audit trail exercise at each annual inspection. The audit trail evaluates your recordkeeping system as well as activities for traceability and compliance.

How does an audit trail exercise work?

For crop farmers, a complete and thorough audit trail enables a crop — e.g., broccoli for retail sale — to be traced from seed to sale. An inspector will be able to easily review a crop and its management practices, materials, equipment, harvest, transport and more.

The crop audits will see if your records demonstrate clear relationships that match on-the-ground realities (the quantity of seeds for a crop) with reported activities (the total amount of that crop harvest).

How do I build my recordkeeping system so it’s easily audited?

Depending on your operation and production needs, you might choose an online program or handwritten logs. Integrating recordkeeping into the daily routine and culture of your farm is key to success. It should be clear that updating and tracking information on your farm is well-managed and easily done.

No matter what system you use, it’s critical that recordkeeping is well understood by all employees and is clear and well-organized for inspectors and your certifier to review.

What is a flowchart system for recordkeeping?

Creating a flowchart system gives you the ability to update your recordkeeping system regularly. The process of noting seed purchased and used alongside harvest information will present a clear picture of your operation’s activities from start to finish.

What other records are reviewed during audit trail exercises?

Additional records to be reviewed for other farm actions include greenhouse activities, weed management logs, and more. You will need to keep receipts and labels for all seeds and materials, including invoices, sales logs and shipping records.

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