Problem: lack of access to high quality, consistent mentorship for new inspectors.
IOIA, in its role as the International professional association for organic inspectors, recognizes the obstacles to recruitment and retention of quality inspectors. IOIA is addressing these concerns with a robust on-site apprenticeship training program covering crops, livestock, and processing operations. IOIA is seeking broad sponsorship and funding from organic industry stakeholders who recognize the value inspectors bring to the whole supply chain, including their own brand’s reputation.
Solution: Improved on-boarding
IOIA envisions a new continuum, where potential inspectors who have completed basic training will work with an approved mentor to complete an intensive week-long course of inspections, followed by a year-long support component whereby the mentor acts as a resource for the apprentice as he/she gains experience. This can remedy current inconsistencies in inspector preparation and competencies, ensure that mentors are appropriately compensated, and fill the missing rung in the ladder that onboards new inspectors.
Solution: Industry Support
Organic Valley Joins as a Supporter of the IOIA Apprenticeship Pilot Program
“Organic inspectors play a vital role in the organic certification framework and are largely responsible for verifying the integrity of organic standards. The community can support the retention of certification staff by working to elevate the status of organic inspectors and reviewers as well-qualified professionals. Join us in supporting an inspector apprenticeship program to meet a critical need.”
– Kelly Placke, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley farmer-owner, Cuba City, WI
To learn more about participating in a one-week livestock apprenticeship intensive – please see https://www.ioia.net/apprenticeship/ Farmers Advocating for Organics (FAFO) funding makes the upcoming July 24-29 training available at no cost to apprentice inspectors, who will only be asked to pay their own travel to the event.
To learn more about opportunities in one-on-one apprenticeship with an experienced inspector mentor in the summer of 2023, in all four scopes (Crop, Processing, Livestock, Wild Crop), please see https://www.ioia.net/apprenticeship/.
Solution: Help build long term support for new inspectors, fostering a strong career path in the organic industry.