Red Tractor Audit – passed with flying colours

Last week we had our annual ‘Red Tractor Assurance’ audit which we are delighted to say that we passed with flying colours!

But what is ‘Red Tractor’? And why are we part of the scheme you may ask.

Well first off Red Tractor will be the logo you will be familiar with seeing on products across supermarkets. It is the little red tractor with a blue tick underneath. Red Tractor is considered a world leader in farming standards.

Since being founded in 2000 it has become the UK’s largest food and farming scheme and covers sectors from beef to barley and pork to pumpkins! The assurance scheme covers the entire food supply chain and employs 350 inspectors to ensure the most robust assessments possible. Last year 60,000 audits were completed across the UK.

The Red Tractor logo can only be used on food that has been produced, transported, stored and packed to Red Tractor standards. Each farming sector has its own stringent set of standards which must be met. We are assured for our beef farming enterprise and here are some of the standards that we must maintain;

1, Anyone working on a Red Tractor certified farm must be trained and demonstrably competent to carry out their role.

2, All cattle have a UK passport and receive 2 ear tags within 20 days of their birth to maintain traceability.

3, Safe, comfortable and hygienic housing must be available for all cattle. (housing must be safe and secure, well ventilated, suitable bedding is used, animals are clean, housing must be lit to allow natural behaviours)

4, Cattle must have sufficiently sized housing and be kept in appropriate groups.

5, Cattle being kept outside must have access to shelter and a dry lying area.

6, Cattle must receive a full healthy diet. The feed they receive must be suitable, clean, traceable, and palatable. (Our cattle our 100% grass fed and grass finished and receive no other feed – for this element of our farming practice we are certified by ‘Pasture For Life’

7, The health and welfare of the cattle must be proactively managed. Every farm must have a Livestock Health Plan and complete an annual health and performance review which is performed by a vet.

8, Every certified farm must have a farm biosecurity policy to help prevent the spread of disease and protect food safety and animal health.

9, The health and welfare of livestock must also be well managed during transportation. (Adequate headroom that allows animals to stand in a natural position, non slip flooring, adequate ventilation, free from injury risk (sharp edges etc).

When the auditor visits he will go through our folder of assurance paperwork which includes safety and service inspections for agricultural machinery, herd health plans, medicine records (which includes things like wormers for the farm cats!)…………

Then there will be a thorough look around the farm inspecting our cattle housing, looking at the condition and health of the cattle and he will also at random call up several ear tag numbers and you will have to find those specific animals and show the inspector that they have both ear tags in place.

Why are we Red Tractor assured? Well that is a good question because we sell all of the beef we produce direct to consumer so don’t have to comply with supermarket buying contracts etc. But we feel that it is a brilliant ‘baseline’ for us to follow and ensure that we are totally up to date with current legislation and best practice paperwork.

We see the standards as a minimum and are always looking to be well over and above the recommendations. The health and well being of our cattle is at the heart of everything we do on the farm.