Farm assurance body Red Tractor has launched a consultation on proposed changes to its standards, including a new requirement for farmers to take steps to improve the welfare of their staff.
The organisation said the proposed new standards, which will come in force from November, focus on three key areas – animal welfare, worker welfare and environmental protection.
“At a time of ever-increasing scrutiny, preserving the public’s trust in UK agriculture and the Red Tractor logo has never been more important,” said Red Tractor chief executive, Jim Moseley.
“These proposals strive to strike a delicate balance which protects and promotes our members, reassures consumers and customers, while acknowledging the implications of the challenges that the industry faces.”
He said the worker welfare proposals aimed to ensure Red Tractor’s strapline – Farmed With Care – included care for the people on members’ farms.
“UK agriculture’s health and safety record is not great,” added Mr Moseley.
“Building worker welfare into the standards ensures our members are taking sensible steps to protect the wellbeing of workers on their farms.”
The animal welfare changes comprise a move towards outcome-based standards with specific guidelines for housing structure and cleanliness, and making it clear what is and isn’t acceptable when handling animals.
Mr Moseley said the environmental protection standards had been adapted from legal requirements and examples include new rules for the management of nitrate concentration in fresh produce crops where legal parameters apply.
He encouraged producers to respond to the consulation, which closes on March 5 and can be found here.
“Farmers have been an intrinsic part of the process in drawing up the proposed new standards, but now it is over to the membership and stakeholders to have their say,” added Mr Moseley.