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Outlook for the inspection year 2021 by bio.inspecta

Andreas Müller, Deputy Head of agriculture division Head of Certification Departement, bio.inspecta AG

In 2021, despite the pandemic, controls will continue to be carried out on organic farms in compliance with the FOPH's protective measures. 

This year's inspections will focus on contract work and the application of non-organic fertilisers. In addition, the inspectors will keep an openeye on the changes in 2021.

These can be found in the brochure "What's new in organic farming in 2021". We would like to take this opportunity to wish all organic farmers a successful year marked by health and happiness at home and in the barn. We would also like to thank our customers most sincerely and not without pride for their loyalty.

Although the new year has just begun, it is time to offer organic farms some guidance with a preview of the upcoming inspection season. 

The virus is still there. Current status on control implementation
Although the pandemic is not yet over, it is becoming apparent that the controls can be carried out on the farms this year. Of course, this is only possible in strict compliance with the FOPH's protective measures. 

The inspection staff of bio.inspecta AG will again be equipped with the necessary material and explicitly trained in strict compliance with the measures.

Innovations in the organic regulations 2021 
One of the core tasks of the companies is to face up to the necessary changes and adaptations every year, which are necessitated by the innovations in the regulations. These are always mastered and implemented in an admirable manner. The changes in the rules and regulations described below do not represent an exhaustive list. They are merely a selection:

  • Tail couping in lambs may now only be carried out on individual animals on the prescription of the veterinarian and with pain relief. 
  • Until 31.12.2021, Bud and BioV imported roughage (max. 10 percent) may still be purchased, which must be used up by the end of winter feeding in 2022. 
  • Bud pork producers who supply more than 20 animals to licensed trade organisations, processors or button fatteners must be members of a recognised organic pig organisation. 
  • From 1.4.2021, all farms that market piglets and fattening hoglets via licensed traders or processors must participate in the Plus Health Programme of the SGD or Qualiporc. From 25 degrees Celsius outside, all pigs, except lactating breeding pigs incl. their piglets, must have a wallow or shower as well as shaded areas at their disposal.   

Change of rules as of 2020 which will now become relevant for sanctions 
Liquid or solid digestate, slurry, manure and compost must be included in the list of inputs and meet the necessary quality requirements.

Control priorities 2021
The focal points of the inspections are determined annually by Bio Suisse together with the two inspection organisations. This year, an in-depth look will be taken at contract processing and the supply of non-organic farmyard manure.

Control focus on contract processing 
Farms should ensure the following requirements: 

  • All subcontractors are certified or have a valid subcontracting contract. 
  • All subcontracting contracts are up to date. All processing products must be listed in the contract. The responsibility for this form of processing lies with the company. 
  • The certified processors are certified in general as well as for the corresponding product. The company delegates the responsibility to the processor, as the processor itself is subject to a control and certification procedure.  

Control focus on the supply of non-organic farmyard manure 
Roughly simplified, it can be said that the following conditions must be met for a supply of non-organic farmyard manure:

  • Proof of non-availability from the organic exchange is available. This must be generated before the supply. 
  • Compliance with the distance limits according to the Bio-Suisse guidelines (as the crow flies). 
  • A distinction is made between liquid and solid fertilisers. If you would like to add chicken manure, but only organic cattle manure is available within the distance limit, you may not add non-organic chicken manure. If only liquid manure is available, chicken manure may be added.    
There is plenty of room for more detailed information on the upcoming inspections. For the sake of clarity, however, we will refrain from doing so and refer once again to the brochure "What's new in organic agriculture 2021".

We are looking forward to the upcoming meetings with the farm managers, which are always exciting. These are a good opportunity to contribute to securing the credibility of organic farming in a spirit of partnership.

With this in mind, we wish everyone a smoothly running inspection. The hotline is at the service of our customers for any questions they may have. Experienced, practising farmers will answer your questions reliably and in accordance with the rules.