STANDFIRST: In its monthly look at the work of the Red Tractor scheme, Farmer examines how the scheme adapted to life in lockdown and what its plans are for the future.

IN last month’s edition, Farmer reported on the launch of a significant Red Tractor advertising campaign – spearheaded by a new-look TV advert which many of our readers will have seen over the past few weeks.

It was first aired during ITV’s The Chase in March, and since then has made regular appearances during some of the UK’s most-watched shows including Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Saturday Night Takeaway and Gogglebox.

The assurance scheme says it expect to reach 45million consumers before the burst of activity pauses in early May until later in the year.

Launching a campaign marked the end of an extremely busy 12 months for Red Tractor – a year which has included the rapid introduction of remote assessments as the Covid pandemic halted physical inspections.

There has also been the not-insignificant matter of Brexit, and the launch of a consultation on the standards its farmers will need to comply with from November this year.

CEO Jim Moseley said: “Our members demonstrated immense resilience and resourcefulness to keep the supply of great British food moving from farms to shops despite unprecedented challenges – not to mention the huge uncertainty hanging over agriculture and trade because of Brexit negotiations.

“While our members kept farming, Red Tractor’s role was to continue to maintain the integrity of the scheme to both the public and our members.”


When the country entered its first lockdown in March 2020, Red Tractor rapidly rolled out a an innovative solution, with physical assessments replaced by streamed inspections.

This was backed up by a new online portal for farmers to upload documents required for checking – an initiative which was being developed already, but was accelerated due to the pandemic.

“As a world-leading assurance scheme, it was important that we developed a remote assessment option, which isn’t burdensome for our members but underpins our mantra -that adhering to the standards isn’t merely an option, it is a necessity – it’s every standard, every day,” Jim explained.

Tens of thousands of remote assessments have now been carried out, with hundreds of thousands of documents now uploaded and stored on the secure online portal.

By introducing live-stream remote challenges at all sites during the ongoing government restrictions, Red Tractor has been able to continue the checks it regularly makes.


Well before coronavirus had turned the world upside down, Red Tractor was meeting with farmers, vets, retailers, processors and other stakeholders to identify areas in its standards which needed to evolve to meet consumers’ expectations and market requirements.

Launched in January, an eight-week review of proposals for the scheme’s six sectors, to ensure members farm in a way that meets the expectations of consumers and market requirements as simply as possible.

More than 3,000 pieces of feedback have been received from across the Red Tractor food chain, in the form of meetings, written questions, emails, phone calls and answers to the consultation survey.