Become a Certified Sustainable Farm or Ranch
You walk the line of sustainable beef production every day. Get recognized for your efforts.
Click on the expandable boxes below to review the steps you need to take to become certified.
Check out these documents to see where your operation fits, and if you are ready to take the next step.
- Sustainable Beef Production Standard
- Assurance Protocols - outlines the requirements and certification process
- Chain of Custody Requirements - outlines the technical and administrative requirements for tracking cattle and beef through the supply chain, and applicable claims about beef sourced from Certified Operations.
Work with a CRSB-approved Certification Body (see next section) to request an audit.
- Work with your Certification Body to gather the necessary information to schedule and prepare for the audit.
- Disclose to your Certification Body if you participate in other audited programs, and if so, specify what they are so it can be determined if they can work together.
- Determine a mutually agreed-upon date, time, fee and scope for the audit.
- Certification Body provides necessary information required for the audit, including assigned auditor who will conduct the audit. Any real or perceived conflicts of interest are mitigated at this point. See CRSB Conflict of Interest Policy & Guidelines
- Prepare for your audit.
The following are CRSB-approved Certification Bodies. Choose which Certification Body you would like to work with for certification to the Sustainable Beef Production Standard.
Where Food Comes From Inc.
The CRSB has defined minimum requirements for assessment to ensure all farms and ranches, regardless of auditor selected, are evaluated using the same methods.
- On-Site Audit: The designated auditor conducts an on-site audit, assesses your farm or ranch’s conformance to the Sustainable Beef Production Standard and provides a written report to the Certification Body.
- Review: The Certification Body reviews the audit report. Based on that review, the certification request is approved or denied and the audit report is provided to the producer.
- If approved, a certificate is issued to the farm or ranch
- If corrective actions are identified, you have the opportunity to correct and respond within the timeline laid out in the audit report
- Once corrective actions are resolved, a certificate is issued
- Certification: Once a certificate is issued, the farm or ranch is considered a Certified Operation for the duration of the certificate
Certification is maintained through a basic 5-year cycle that includes on-site audits, records assessments and self-declarations. The Certification Body conducts a risk assessment based on an operation's initial audit findings and assigns an appropriate audit cycle.
Certification Bodies are responsible for ongoing assessments of producers in accordance with the applicable audit cycle. Following each assessment, the Certification Body determines if the certificate will be renewed or withdrawn. The CRSB also reserves the right to withdraw certificates at their sole discretion.
The following considerations are taken into account when determining risk assignment:
- Performance and number of corrective actions on the following critical indicators:
- watershed health;
- manure control;
- food safety;
- worker health and safety;
- animal care, and
- crop input use
- Performance on previous assessments (if applicable)
For more information, review the CRSB Assurance Protocols.
Sustainability - a journey of continuous improvement.
The backbone of sustainability is continuous improvement. The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework intentionally includes three scoring levels to identify achievement and recognize producers who are committed to, and make progress on improvements aligned with the five principles of sustainability.
Although level 1 - Achievement - is the basis for certification on each indicator in the standard, the auditing process also provides valuable feedback to Certified Operations on their progress, and encourages continuous improvement.
The Innovation and Excellence levels in the certification scoring system are not required for certification, but serve to recognize significant improvements over time, and reward producers for continuous improvements.
As a CRSB Certified Operation, you are eligible to use the CRSB Certification Mark to recognize the investment you have made to demonstrating your sustainability, and to promote your farm or ranch’s certification status with your customers, supply chain and the public.
You can also be featured here on the "Meet the Players" page.
Request the Certification Mark and accompanying Certified Operation claim from your Certification Body.
For more information, review section 2.3.1 (page 18) of the Communications, Claims and Labelling Guide.
So you're certified... now what?
In order to reap the benefits of being certified within your supply chain, ensure that your cattle go to another certified farm or ranch in the supply chain. Here are some things you can do:
- To direct contract cattle to other CRSB Certified Operations in your area, check out the listing on the Verified Beef Production Plus website, which can be searched by location, name and type of operation.
- Bring your CRSB Certified certificate to sale day at the auction to provide proof of your certification status
- Promote your certification status in your farm or ranch's promotional materials
- Check for animals being sold at auction from Certified Operations
Check out Cargill's Beef Sustainability Program website for information about participating in Cargill supply chains. To qualify, cattle must travel through Certified Operations at every stage of the supply chain. Be sure you have done the following to ensure your cattle can qualify:
- Be certified to CRSB's Sustainable Beef Production Standard through an on-site audit by either VBP+ or Where Food Comes From, or by Ontario Corn Fed Beef Quality Assurance Program for Ontario feedlot operations.
- Age verify your cattle through either TrustBIX or the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency
- If you use BIXS, ensure you have indicated that you allow information-sharing