Over the last several years, consumer demand for organic fruits and vegetables demonstrated double-digit growth, rising 11 percent in 2020 to $18.2 billion, and the strong growth continued in 2021. The trend reflects the priority consumers are placing on making healthy lifestyle choices. They continue to look for healthier and more nutritious options for their diet, which pressures retailers to stock and offer more organic fruits and vegetables.
With this increasing demand at the retail level, organic growers must scale up production while maintaining operational efficiencies to keep costs under control while delivering safe, high-quality produce.
A good way to tackle this challenge is by putting a farm “In Check.” This is a way to think about a process for reviewing and examining all critical tasks to keep the farm operating efficiently and maintaining costs at a minimum without sacrificing product quality or safety. Any successful farm operations team knows this intuitively, and there are likely binders and rules of thumb that guide the day-to-day tasks. But with staff turnover and increasing requirements for food safety and regulatory tasks around food production, the old way of managing farm processes starts to fray.
Even if things are going well, it helps to document critical tasks. A good rule of thumb is that if a procedure requires completion more than twice it should be considered a critical task. Once these tasks are identified and documented, growers should make sure that the tasks are:
- Assigned to the right worker
- Have the proper schedule set (frequency)
- Conducted entirely, and on-time
- Recorded and saved, which includes any corrective actions performed
- Easily reviewable and available
Putting a farm “In Check” is a way to standardizehow critical tasks will be carried out and recorded. Mobile digital task management is an excellent solution for this, providing complete record-keeping and storage of tasks so that growers can verify, track, and prove that critical tasks are being correctly observed in a timely matter.
When choosing a digital task management solution, consider the following:
- The convenience of a mobile application available on both Android and iOS devices
- Unique schedule capabilities for any checklist, including checklists requiring on-demand availability
- Recording and storing all task observations in a cloud environment
- Consistent and complete reporting analytics
- Role-based permissions for required system access
- Corrective action alerts for immediate attention to issues
- Photo/video/audio capture with notes
- Easy access to policies within a task for reference on required practices
Implementing a mobile digital task management solution can be an integral part of putting your organic farm “In Check.”