After you have submitted your Organic System Plan (application), a VOF staff person will review your information and flag any items for further clarification via “staff review comments”. Then, an inspector will be assigned to your certification. You will receive an email from the VOF office letting you know that you have been assigned an inspector and that staff review comments are available for you to review. Watch our instructional video on how to check your staff review comments.
Inspectors are independent contractors who will visit your farm to make an objective observation of your practices and to review and audit your records. The inspector will contact you to schedule your inspection. Although VOF is required to conduct unannounced inspections on at least 5% of certified producers annually, your normal annual inspection will be scheduled in advance by your inspector. Inspections can take a couple of hours, depending on the scope of your operation and if you have any remote sites for operation. Please ensure that you disclose all production sites to your inspector in advance, so they can plan accordingly.
When you are preparing for your inspection please be sure to:
- Read through all staff review comments in advance, found in your online community. Please note that staff review comments are meant to be a guide for discussions with your inspector. Please do not respond to comments to your VOF Certification Specialist unless specifically noted in the comment.
- Set aside appropriate time to host the inspection
- Be prepared to visit all operation locations, including fields, barns, facilities, farm stands, and office locations.
- Have all records available at the time of inspection and organized so that the inspector can review and audit them, including:
- Purchase records for ingredients, seeds, inputs, feed, or production-related equipment (such as maple taps)
- Input application records (such as fertilization dates, rates, and products)
- Organic certificates for ingredients or feeds
- Activity records (such as seeding, transplanting, and input application)
- Harvest records
- Production records
- Sales records (it is important that these records are recorded by item)
- Animal ID records
- Health Care Records
- As fed ration records
- Transaction records
Please remember that inspectors are required to objectively collect information and report potential issues to the VOF office. Please be kind and patient with your inspector.
If your inspection typically lasts more than a few hours, please discuss with the inspector when it may be appropriate to stop for breaks and/or meals.
At the end of your inspection, the inspector will list any summary points for the office and you and the inspector will sign off on the results of the inspection.
Wondering what happens after the inspection?
After your inspection, the inspector will complete an inspection report describing the information they collected during the inspection and explaining any potential concerns that were identified. If you have any questions, points of clarification, or documents that you wish to submit after the inspection please contact your VOF Certification Specialist.
The VOF Certification Specialist will review the inspection report from the inspector and evaluate the potential concerns that were identified by the inspector. The Certification Specialist will determine if the potential concerns identified by the inspector are issues and what time of response is needed by the office. After the Certification Specialist completes their review you will receive an email from the VOF office prompting you to log in to your online community to check and resolve any issues identified and download your latest Organic Certificate and Inspection Report.