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Applying the Standards

Applying the Standards

Social Stewardship Standards for Farms, Ranches, and other Food and Agriculture Businesses (2019v4)

What Certification Means #

Standards are outlined for both labor and trade practices of the operation including: working conditions, pay and benefits, participation and training for workers and interns, negotiations, pricing, and contracting between buyers and sellers. All entities are welcomed to apply. Please see the AJP Policy Manual for our requirements regarding partial chain labeling and multi-ingredient products.

AJP and Organic Certification #

AJP standards can be applied to a continuum of operations, however specific standards compliance for health/safety and toxic exposure requirements regarding farmers, workers, children and interns will be different depending on the type of operation and the materials used. In general, AJP standards are designed to ensure a movement away from use of chemical industrial agriculture toward more bio-intensive, organic and regenerative agriculture.

AJP reserves the rights to not approve any entities, which do not meet our standards.

Meeting the Standards #

It has been critical to the Agricultural Justice Project to develop a certification system that recognizes continual progress over time. Compliance with the standards will result in certification and the right of the certified entity to a market claim so long as it complies with AJP’s policy on labeling and partial chain and multi-ingredient products.

Requirements for Certification:

  1. Compliance with all required standards.
  2. Correction of minor non-compliances according to certifier’s instructions, no major non-compliances found.
  3. Payment of all fees.
  4. Certification review by an AJP accredited certifier.
  5. Signature and compliance with AJP licensing and seal use contract.

How Standards Will be Evaluated #

An operation will either be found to be in compliance with a standard or will be issued a minor or major non-compliance. Minor and major non-compliance designations are outlined by AJP certifiers, based on these principles:

  1. A major non-compliance is a violation of the standard that infringes on the rights of individuals.
  2. A minor non-compliance is an error related to documentation of those rights.

A limited number of minor non-compliances does not prevent certification but must be corrected within the time frame outlined by the entity’s certifier for the entity to remain certified. Any major non-compliance means the entity cannot qualify for certification until the major non-compliance is corrected.

Compliance with the standards will be determined by the AJP accredited and approved certifier based on inspections.

Continual Improvement #

It is expected that AJP certified entities continue to improve from year to year (i.e., they do not stagnate once they receive certification). Certified entities may select from one of the suggested/encouraged standards outlined by AJP in each standards section (indicated by italics and the terminology “are encouraged” or “may”) or develop a specific practice that aligns with the principles that is not outlined in the standards. The entity must document the area of specific selected improvement and progress towards this annually.