Organic control 2024

Early preparation protects against unnecessary trouble

Early preparation protects against unnecessary trouble

Andreas Müller, bio.inspecta

The 2024 organic inspections will begin again in mid-February. In a short guide, Andreas Müller, Head of Certification at bio.inspecta, provides a few tips to help farm managers face the inspections with confidence.

The 2023 harvest and inspection year is barely a thing of the past before it's time to get back to work on the tasks ahead. The Organic Farming Ordinance and the Bio Suisse and Demeter labels require annual farm inspections. Sooner or later, an inspector from bio.inspecta AG will announce the inspection with the producers. The inspection company usually starts carrying out the main inspections in mid-February. Quality assurance is guaranteed by the unannounced inspections required by law. These can take place at any time.

Looking forward calmly to the inspector's visit
If you are well prepared, you can look forward to the bio.inspecta inspector's visit with confidence. A timely and systematic approach helps to minimise or avoid unnecessary stressful situations as well as the potential for deficiencies. The five steps suggested are merely a recommendation and do not claim to be exhaustive.  

Step 1The December 2023 newsletter to our customers contains a link to the control preparation checklist, which, like the application form for calculating any balance sheets, can also be downloaded from our homepage. If this checklist is worked through meticulously, a great deal is already in the bag.

Step 2 
The accounting documents required for the annual financial statements, which are relevant for the organic control, are always stored in the documents for the control. Whether this is done in electronic form or on good old-fashioned paper is of secondary importance..

Step 3 
Ongoing records, e.g. the animal exercise journal, livestock register (TVD), treatment journal, field calendar, etc. (list is not exhaustive) are preferably made on the same day or, even better, immediately. Procrastination causes the mountain of pending tasks to grow and is not expedient as it tends to be forgotten. Electronic entries via an app enable journals to be kept without delay in the tractor cab, milking parlour or from the beet row.

Step 4 
What happened last year? Reviewing your own inspection results from the past helps to close memory gaps and avoid repeating any deficiencies that may have arisen. At the same time, it is helpful to know which defects occurred most frequently among bio.inspecta AG's customers in the 2023 inspection year. It is striking that a significant proportion of the most frequent deficiencies are due to incorrect administration:

  • Certification body bio.inspecta AG, CH-BIO-006 is not declared on the labels
  • Animal welfare shortcomings
  • Self-declaration catalogue of biodiversity measures is not completed
  • Treatment journal is inadequately maintained or missing
  • Deficiencies in the supply of farmyard manure
  • Incorrect seed was used
  • Origin of the animals is not Bio Suisse compliant

Step 5 
Have the requirements in the regulations and directives changed? Do any innovations in the jungle of regulations trigger a need for adaptation for my farm?  

A review of the published brochure "What's new in organic farming in 2024" will help. If reading this raises additional questions, a call to our hotline will shed light on the subject.

bio.inspecta wishes all farm managers a carefree harvest year 2024, which will be characterised by good harvests and an organic inspection that goes off without a hitch.

Published on www.bioaktuell.ch