Maintaining an audit trail
In organic certification, an ‘audit trail’ is required. This refers
to the path a product takes from the field to the consumer. When
someone buys an apple at a store, it should be possible to track that
apple back to the specific orchard it came from (as well as the storage
bin and truck it was in, etc.). It’s also important to be able to
demonstrate that the amount of organic product sold is correlated to
the amount you harvested.
Maintaining a clear audit trail is particularly critical if you are
growing or selling both organic and non-organic crops. Diligent
recordkeeping is the key to a clear audit trail.
You might consider the complications of the audit trail when
planning your future operation. For example, if 90% of what you sell
will be grown organically on your own farm, and 10% is non-organic from
another farm, you might question whether the revenue generated by that
10% is worth the extra time and paperwork required to show that there
is no contamination or co-mingling.