A Spotlight on Certificates: Compliance and Traceability
GAP has more than 3500 farms certified in its program. For those livestock managers, ranchers or farmers thinking about joining our Program, you might be curious to know a little more about certification, what the GAP certificate looks like and why it’s important to keep a copy once you are certified.
What goes on a GAP certificate?
Once you’ve had your GAP audit and your certifier has determined the farm has passed the audit, you will receive a GAP certificate. While each GAP-accredited certifier has their own template and style, every certificate contains important information:
- The farm’s name and address;
- The type of operation: for example on a beef certificate, this will indicate whether the operation raises cow-calf pairs, backgrounders, or finishers;
- The farm/ranch’s Step-rating;
- Dates of approval: this indicates when the certificate can be used and when it expires;
- Unique certificate number: this allows certifiers to trace animals to the farms where they were raised; and
- The certifier’s seal or signature: this shows the farm has been audited, verified and approved to the GAP standards by the certifier.
Who gets a copy of the certificate?
The certifier sends the GAP certificate to the owner or manager of the farm or ranch and if applicable, affiliated marketing entity.
What happens when I receive my certificate?
Livestock managers, ranchers or farmers need to make sure all the information on the certificate is accurate. You will also need to keep a copy of the certificate on file.
What happens when my GAP-certified animals leave the farm?
In order for GAP animals to be transported to their next destination (whether that is another farm to continue growing or to the slaughter facility), the certificate must accompany each shipment of animals. The GAP certificate acts like a passport, verifying the identity of GAP animals and which Step-level they achieved.
At the end of the day…
The GAP certificate provides you with verification that your animals are in compliance with the GAP standards. The certificate also provides a mechanism for certifiers and those that buy GAP certified animals to check chain of custody. At the end of the day, this means that suppliers can definitively put the GAP label on product, giving customers assurance that the meat they purchase is from GAP farms.
So when you receive your GAP certificate, after your jubilation and celebrations 🙂 make sure you check all the information is accurate and contact your certifier if you spot a mistake.