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OnTrace now taking individual farm registrations

Ontario farmers who aren’t in the major provincial commodity groups but still want to register their farms with the Ontario Agri-food Premises Registry (OAPR) can now do so.

OnTrace Agri-food Traceability, the industry-led, non-profit agency spearheading Ontario’s food traceability initiatives, said Monday it’s now set up to gather premises data from individual producers and issue unique OAPR premises identifiers (PIDs) to them.

OnTrace had previously been working with Ontario’s producer organizations to identify and validate their members’ farms and other agricultural premises, allowing for bulk registration and bulk assignment of PIDs.

But the new sign-up capability, a first for OnTrace since the OAPR went live last June, allows individual rather than group sign-ups, the agency said. The group data access is also still available.

“This new sign-up functionality is good news for primary producers who want a premises identifier that meets national standards,” OnTrace said in a release Monday. There is no fee for individual registration,the agency added.

“Given all the attention that has been focused on food safety, traceability and animal welfare recently, we feel that individual producers want to become a part of the solution to better manage agriculture and agri-food emergencies,” OnTrace CEO Brian Sterling said in the release.

“We also hope that in 2009 many more producers will agree and take advantage of OnTrace’s abilities to support source verification for food.”

Registration with the OAPR allows for identification and validation of a specific location, which the agency said will help both industry and government plan and respond to a food or animal health emergency.

As well, OnTrace said, unique premises identification is a key requirement when branding products for export, for “eat local” programs and other source verification requirements;

Also, more suppliers and farmers are using unique PIDs to help manage costs for their feed and supply deliveries. And for farmers, the use of what’s considered an industry best practice can reduce risk management costs.

Registration through OnTrace also gives farmers “Global Location Numbers” (GLNs) for their premises. This second number is a unique global identifier that links with the GS1 Global Party and Location Registry, OnTrace said.

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