How do I Implement the Program?
The steps to implementing the Canadian Verified Sheep Program are simple. The Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual has everything you need to implement the program on your farm. The steps for implementation are:
1. Participate in a Producer Training Session;
The producer training sessions are in place to provide you with the necessary information on how to implement the program on your farm using the Producer Manual. There are various options provided for producer training.
2. Review the the Canadian Verified Sheep Program Manual;
The Producer Manual contains all of the information needed to implement the program, including the good production practices and sample record forms. The Manual and sample record-keeping forms are available online and are provided to you should you attend an in-person Producer Training Session.
3. Adapt the material in the manual to suit the particular needs and conditions of your farm;
While there are various “must do” good production practices, they may not all be applicable to your farm. Some of the good production practices require you to provide details on how you accomplish some activities, such as tracking animals treated with any animal health products. You may also have a record keeping system in place, which doesn’t require you to use the sample forms given, provided all of the necessary details are recorded.
4. Utilize the good production practices and record keeping system on your farm;
Before you can apply for certification to the program, you must implement the good production practices and have records available for at least one cycle, which is typically from one lambing to the next.
5. Train yourself and your workers about Canadian Verified Sheep Progam;
Apart from the producer training sessions to learn how to implement food safety, it is important for you and anyone working on your farm to understand the practices in place and the purpose they serve in reducing the risk of a food safety hazard.
6. Record when mistakes happen;
Mistakes will happen even on the best-run farm. However, this program recognizes this and provides practices for ensuring, when mistakes are identified, they are corrected and documented in order to ensure they do not occur again. Documenting these incidents further strengthens and verifies that your on-farm food safety program is working effectively.
7. Apply for an Audit;
Once you completed the producer training and have implemented the program, with records available for one cycle, you can apply to be audited. You must apply for an audit in order to be considered certified on the program. Contact you provincial sheep association or the Canadian Sheep Federation in order to apply for an audit. Upon successful completion of the audit, you are considered certified on the program and will receive certificate, providing proof to any consumer that you are registered on a national on-farm food safety program.
8. Maintain your certification
The Canadian Verified Sheep Program runs on a four-year audit cycle. Year one is the initial full audit, where the auditor comes out to your farm and reviews your records. The audit to become certified is a full audit and is considered year one of the cycle. Year two is a self-declaration, a formal declaration from you attesting to your ongoing implementation and compliance with the program. Year three is a records review, during which you are required to submit a subset of the records related to the program for review. Year four is another self-declaration, followed by starting the cycle again with year one, a full audit. It is your responsibility to maintain your certification. Be aware of the date you become certified so that four to six weeks prior to your ‘anniversary date’, you can contact your provincial sheep association or the Canadian Sheep Federation and express your intent to maintain your certification. You will receive the necessary paperwork, depending on your place in the audit cycle. If you choose not to maintain your certification in a timely manner, you may be required to complete the full-audit again.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Sheep Federation
PO Box 10 Williamsburg PO
Phone: 613-652-1824 or 1-888-684-7739