Pasture for Life to be audited by Soil Association

Producers considering Pasture for Life certification will be able to have their livestock systems audited by Soil Association Certification (SA Cert) from January 2021.

The move comes as interest grows in 100% pasture-fed practices across the food and farming community, according to membership body the Pasture-Fed Livestock Association (PFLA), which champions the regenerative role of ruminant grazing animals.

SA Cert joins Organic Farmers and Growers (OF&G) and the Biodynamic Association (BDA) in getting behind the PFLA.

See also: 5 fundamentals for healthy soils

More than half the farmers with PFL certification are already organic or biodynamic producers.

Those with OF&G or BDA certifications benefit from joint audits. Now those licensed with SA Cert will also be able to have joint audits, saving them time and money.

The move, announced at the Oxford Real Farming Conference, has been welcomed by PFLA’s executive director, Jimmy Woodrow.

Natural fit

“We feel this reflects the strength of collaboration present in the regenerative movement and the fact that Pasture for Life [PFL] is a natural fit with organic certification,” he says.

“We have just over 100 farmers at the moment and are hoping to double that in the next couple of years.

“This agreement is only part of the story behind that expectation, but we are aware of a number of PFLA members, who are SA organic, who have held off from certifying PFL because of the extra time and cost. This should help with that.

“Having the SA pushing our standard as an add-on to theirs within their community will be powerful as a means of further differentiation for livestock farmers in a tough media environment,” he adds.

The new agreement is one of a number of areas where the PFLA is working closely with the SA, including the upcoming government labelling consultation, as part of a wider agroecological and conservation consortium.

The PFLA sees joint organic or biodynamic PFL as the gold standard for ruminants in the marketplace.

Easy to understand

One reason 100% grass-fed or pasture-fed products get traction with consumers is because it’s easy to understand, he says.

“We are steadily building the evidence behind the farming model, the environmental and nutritional benefits, and are seeing more and more interest from chefs, butchers and the wider public.

“This agreement will allow more producers to access the clarity of the Pasture for Life certification.”

SA Cert chief executive officer Martin Sawyer has also welcomed the new collaboration.

“Joint organic and PFLA audits for SA-certified farmers allow for further promotion and recognition of their hard work supporting pasture-fed grazing – a key component of organic systems,” he says.

“We are committed to working collaboratively to deliver regenerative outcomes and see this as a significant step forward.”

About Pasture for Life

The Pasture for Life mark certifies that Pasture for Life meat and dairy comes from animals raised only on grass and pasture, without any form of grain or manufactured feeds.

All farms are visited to make sure they follow a set of agreed production standards, based on the animal’s natural diet.

The three key elements of Pasture for Life farming are:

  • Understanding what the grass is capable of producing and improving it where necessary
  • Matching the breed of animals to the available grassland
  • Ensuring the end-product meets the requirements of the available markets.