THE LURE of an easy $10 a tonne premium for signing up to the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC), allowing farmers to sell into the European Union is tempting, but they are being warned they need to ensure they can comply.
"You have to sign up to this program thinking that you will be audited and be confident you can meet the criteria," said Victorian Farmers Federation grains group president Ash Fraser.
Australian farmers have been using the scheme to sell canola to the EU in recent years and now with EU demand for our malt barley on the rise, it will be also offered to barley producers as well.
Mr Fraser said when farmers were confident they were complying with the requirements the ISCC was a great way of opening up new markets and a premium for their product.
"It can add some good value for our produce, which is always a positive."
However, on the other hand, he said farmers unsure of whether they met the standards should not participate.
"This is not something people should just automatically sign up to, there is a reasonable amount of work there in terms of the paperwork required for compliance, it is not just money for nothing."
He said there were a number of tests farmers must be able to pass.
"Farmers selling ISCC certified malting barley may be subject to external audits, conducting self-assessments and ensuring they are able to demonstrate their commitment to the standards that are in place."
In particular, he said farmers' record keeping had to be exemplary.
"Some requirements are quite onerous and growers are required to keep significant, detailed records.
"There are some farmers who are very diligent with their notes, which is great, and there are others that focus on other areas which is fine, but this may mean this scheme is not for you."
Mr Fraser said the framework for selling ISCC certified sustainable malting barley mirrors the regulations in place for selling ISCC certified sustainable canola.
"For a number of years we have had buyers purchase ISCC certified sustainable canola and growers have had to agree to be subject to audits and where necessary implement corrective action.
"The same obligations will apply if you are now selling ISCC certified sustainable malting barley."
He said the certification gained for canola would cover barley if growers were already signed up.
"If growers have previously grown and sold sustainable canola, you will find that your farm rather than just your canola crop is certified and your barley crops would be covered," Mr Fraser said.