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Re: EMS for farmers

Wendy et al.

Farm*A*Syst has explored the possibilities for ISO certification.  Most of
our understanding of this subject is reflected in an excellent paper by E.
Wall described below.  Essentially the paper says that the Canadian version
of Farm*A*Syst (the Ontario Environmental Farm Plan) could serve as a
platform for ISO 14001 with the following modifications:  (1) a statement
of environmental policy, (2) Provision for 3rd party auditing, (3) and
incorporation of steps for continual improvement.  The big question is
whether the costs of auditing warrant this leap.   

A summary of the Wall's publication can be found at this web site
(http://www.oac.uoguelph.ca/www/FSR/fsr372.htm).  Here is the summary: 

__Implications for Ontario Agriculture from ISO 14000__ 

Principal Investigator: Ellen Wall Collaborators:Clarence Swanton, Alfons

Rationale:International standards for environmental management have been
and are currently being developed by ISO (International Organization for
Standardization). It is expected that this new initiative (ISO 14000) will
become as popular as the ISO 9000 series (for quality management). In the
event that ISO 14000 does take hold, there is a potential expansion in both
the export and domestic markets for agricultural products that are
registered to ISO 14000 standards. 

This situation raises several issues for Ontario agricultural producers
that need to be addressed as soon as possible. However, clear and concise
information about ISO 14000 is not immediately available which makes it
difficult for farm operators and their organizations to make effective
decisions regarding their future plans. Among the points that need to be
explored are: the costs/benefits associated with registration to ISO 14000
standards, the way ISO 14000 relates to other quality assurance initiatives
(eg H.A.C.C.P. and ISO 9000), and how the Environmental Farm Plan might be
related or incorporated in the ISO 14000 standard. 

The purpose of this research is to explore the implications of the ISO
14000 standards for Ontario agriculture so that Ontario producers, their
representative organizations, and policy-makers can be informed about the
issues and implications of ISO certification. 


to address four explicit questions regarding ISO 14000 and Ontario
Can the Ontario Environmental Farm Plan (EFP) be incorporated in ISO 14000

If the EFP is not suitable, how could it be changed or what other
environmental management system would be appropriate ?

What are the potential costs and benefits to Ontario producers who decide
to comply with ISO 14000 criteria? 

What are the potential costs and benefits to Ontario agriculture as a whole? 

Richard Castelnuovo
B142 Steenbock Library
550 Babcock Drive
Madison, WI 53706
FAX: 608-265-2775
URL: http://www.wisc.edu/farmasyst