Farmer-friendly ISO standard for crop production quality management

Date : 14 January 2010

Farmers can now improve their overall performance and financial results, as well as increase customer confidence and satisfaction with a new ISO standard for implementing an ISO 9001 quality management system (QMS) for crop production.

The new standard, ISO 22006:2009, Quality management systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 9001:2008 to crop production, can be used with farm operations of any size, growing all types of food, feed and non-food crops.

ISO 22006:2009 provides step-by-step guidance through the requirements of ISO 9001:2008 with a practical approach to crop operations. The standard provides pertinent subject-specific tips and suggestions, and uses agricultural terminology. Among its unique features is a user-friendly flow diagram listing all the farm operation activities to help determine how they fit together and where there is need for improvement.

Mark Ames, Project Leader, says, “ISO 22006 takes a recognized generic management solution and turns it into a down-to-earth tool that farmers can link to their particular needs.”

Richard Cantrill, Convenor of the working group that developed the standard (ISO/TC 34/WG 12) adds “The standard will give farmers a powerful advantage. Although the application of a quality management system (QMS) can take some initial added-effort, overall, this is built from existing activities and should not cause excessive paperwork or lack of flexibility. On the other hand, a solid QMS can bring important net benefits, not only to farmers, but to their clients and customers.”

ISO 22006:2009 highlights the eight quality management principles that provide a basis for ISO 9001:2008 and relates them to crop production:

    * Customer focus
    * Leadership
    * Involvement of people
    * Process approach
    * System approach to management
    * Continual improvement
    * Factual approach to decision-making
    * Mutually beneficial supplier relationships.

ISO 22006:2009 does not add or change any of the requirements in ISO 9001:2008 and is not intended for certification, although it can be a useful tool in helping prepare for certification to ISO 9001:2008.

ISO 22006 is part of the ISO 22000 family of documents developed by ISO technical committee ISO/TC 34, Food products, focusing on the food, feed, and related supply chains. Other standards in the ISO 22000 currently include:

    * ISO 22000:2005, Food safety management systems – Requirements for any organization in the food chain  
    * ISO 15161:2001, Guidelines on the application of ISO 9001:2000 for the food and drink industry
    * ISO/TS 22002-1:2009, Prerequisite programmes on food safety – Part 1: Food manufacturing
    * ISO/TS 22003:2007, Food safety management systems – Requirements for bodies providing audit and certification of food safety management system
    * ISO/TS 22004:2005, Food safety management systems – Guidance on the application of ISO 22000:2005   
    * ISO 22005:2007, Traceability in the feed and food chain – General principles and basic requirements for system design and implementation.