ARA: ResponsibleAg has two-fold mission
• Level the playing field for all players. A priority for ResponsibleAg is to reach those outlets who might not be part of a state or national association or are unaware of all the federal regulatory requirements. Ensuring that these facilities are in compliance—in addition to the retailers who are engaged—will be a significant benefit to the entire industry. Diligent suppliers will be the key to making this happen.
HOW WILL IT WORK?
ResponsibleAg is consolidating the various federal regulatory requirements into one checklist, which should make compliance simpler for the retailer. Audits will be conducted according to the checklist.
By the end of 2013, we’ll have a registration system up and running. Suppliers (producers, importers, wholesale distributors, brokers) will need to register in order to access the list of facilities and associated audit scores. They will be able to know if the customer they’re delivering to is registered and whether they passed their most recent audit. Retailers will register their sites so they can be put on the audit calendar. Each location will receive a third-party audit on a specified schedule—currently expected to be every three years.
The first class of auditors will be trained and certified in 2014, after which a period of trial audits will be done. Actual audits will start after the trial period—the actual date has not yet been determined. At that point, here’s how the process is anticipated to work:
• ResponsibleAg will schedule audits for facilities. Once the audit is complete, the audit result will be uploaded into the ResponsibleAg database.
• The facility manager whose site was inspected will receive a report including recommended corrective actions for any areas of deficiency.
• Suppliers will be able to access the scoring for the audit—whether the facility passed—but not the specific details of the audit report.
• When a supplier is processing a sale to a facility, they can look on ResponsibleAg whether the site is registered and has passed its most recent audit.
WHAT GOES INTO THE CHECKLISTS?
Federal regulatory requirements are the only items that will have an impact on an audit score. If a state agribusiness association wants to add state-specific requirements to the ResponsibleAg checklist in their state, they will need to submit that request and be responsible for training inspectors on those issues and providing the checklist questions.