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Physical Red Tractor inspections to resume next week in phased return

1st Jul 2020 / By Alistair Driver

A phased return to physical Red Tractor inspections will start next week, after what the assurance scheme described as a 'successful' switch to remote inspections in March.

Red Tractor new logoIn line with the general easing of lockdown, from Monday, the resumption of on-farm Red Tractor inspections will begin on Monday, July 6. The phased approach will see the inspections initially applying to those who meet the following criteria:

  • New applicants wishing to become Red Tractor assured
  • Those who have been identified as a poorer performer as part of Red Tractor’s risk-based approach
  • Where live streaming is not a credible option.

Physical assessments will only take place with the full agreement from the farmer and assessor on health and safety precautionary measures to take, ahead of any visit.

The assurance scheme is stressing that at this stage, most inspections will continue to be conducted remotely. But this dual approach for farm members, means that from the July 6, inspections will return to being compulsory.

A further 200 pig members are scheduled to have their assessments in the coming weeks.

Red Tractor chairman Jim Moseley said: “As we move towards a semblance of normality, with the relaxing of social distancing and travel restrictions, it is important that we take a sensible and measured sustainable approach to how we deliver our inspection regimes.”

Remote success

Red Tractor said the introduction of the new remote assessment regime for farmer members in March in response to government advice on COVID-19 social distancing and non-essential travel has proven to be a ‘highly successful initiative’. Over the past two months, 6,300 members have completed remote assessments on farm, including more than 500 pig producers.

Members have been offered the opportunity to opt for either an offline pre-assessment of documentation, followed by a partial assessment using live-streaming technologies to provide a real-time visual inspection of the farm. Or, alternatively have the entire assessment-reviewing paperwork and documents, alongside a visual inspection streamed live with an assessor.

Jim MoseleyMr Moseley said: “With more than 6,000 remote assessments already completed since we began the roll out, and thousands more in the pipeline, we are delighted how quickly and well this new protocol has been received by members.

Remote assessments have been made possible, largely due to the development of a unique online portal, which works as a ‘confidential online filing cabinet’.

Members can upload and store all necessary documents required to demonstrate compliance to Red Tractor standards. Red Tractor said it was a secure and safe way for members to upload and review documents relating to their assessment and has been designed for all Red Tractor farm scheme and transport members to use.

Assessors can then review the documents ahead of the assessment to save members time. For farmers who struggle with mobile connectivity, the online portal allows them to upload documents beforehand at a time that suits them.

With more than 2,000 members already utilising the Red Tractor Portal and nine out of 10 farmers finding it ‘a helpful and easy to use resource’, according to Red Tractor, it is expecting that most members will opt to use it for the paper-based reporting element of assessments.