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Frequently Asked Questions

About Certified Regenerative by A Greener World

Regenerative farming goes beyond sustainability to restore ecological balance. With a core focus on soil, regenerative agriculture promotes continual improvement and healthy, thriving ecosystems.

Certified Regenerative is a hard-earned badge of difference demonstrating a commitment to the environment and local communities. Certified Regenerative farms maximize soil health, while mitigating the negative impacts of humans and livestock. This includes the positive management and regeneration of soil, water, air, cropping systems, livestock, biodiversity, wild harvested resources, and people. A premise of the Certified Regenerative standards is that animals must be allowed to behave naturally and can play an important role in the nutrient cycling when raised in animal-centered farming systems.

A key part of Certified Regenerative by AGW is the Regenerative Plan. This plan, designed with support from a qualified expert, is how A Greener World assesses compliance with the Certified Regenerative standard and the farm’s own goals. Standards can be requested by contacting us at regenerative@agreenerworld.org.

The Qualified Expert can be internationally recognized by an organization or other experts in the field, or they can be the farmer themselves, as long as AGW recognizes their competency. For more information contact regenerative@agreenerworld.org.

The Certified Regenerative standards have been carefully researched, developed and reviewed by the Certified Regenerative Standards Board, with the advice of experts from an extensive network of pioneering veterinarians, scientists and farmers committed to regenerative systems. AGW believes that there is always room for improvement, and our standards are evaluated annually to incorporate the latest research and best practices in regenerative agriculture.

Certified Regenerative by AGW standards and documentation are currently being shared with those involved in the pilot. If you are interested in obtaining a copy of the standards or participating in the pilot please reach out at the contact information below.

Certified Regenerative is a “whole farm” program, meaning that all products, including plant- or animal-based products, produced on the farm must be produced according to the Certified Regenerative standards. If a farm is granted Certified Regenerative status, all its products can bear the Certified Regenerative seal (assuming all animal products are Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW). A certified holding can also carry no products for market.

There are numerous differences and overlaps between Certified Regenerative and Organic certification, but the key core difference is that Certified Regenerative is focused on regeneration and improving land and the ecosystem; whereas, Organic certification is focused on excluding toxic chemical pesticides and fertilizers in production. A farm can apply both approaches simultaneously and maintain both certifications.

No, existing international standards were consulted in forming a strict group of inputs allowed and prohibited under the Certified Regenerative program. See Annex D of the Certified Regenerative Standard for the List of Prohibited Inputs, as well as Annex E, for the List of Allowed Inputs.

Yes. The type of farming system is more important than its scale, and AGW certifies a number of larger scale, high-welfare farming systems. Certified Regenerative farms may be any scale as long as the standards are achieved.

Unlike Organic certification, there is no 3-year transition period in order to gain Certified Regenerative status—instead, Certified Regenerative is the transition period. On the first year of certification, however, the farm history and risks are reviewed, and if there is a risk of toxic pesticide or other chemical residues, the farm will have to enact a plan of remediation before products can reach the market.

Although there is no single standard that is considered entirely equivalent, AGW offers simplified audit forms (checklists) for some certifications, thereby reducing the need for Certified Regenerative audit for those applicable section requirements. See Annex F of the Certified Regenerative Standard for Recognition/Equivalencies with other Certifications.

As an independent, nonprofit certifier, A Greener World charges below-market rates for application and auditing, and through the support of our donors, is able to offer certification free of charge. Please find complete information on our Fee Schedule page. If a farm has livestock, the AWA certification of any single species waives the $100 audit fee for Certified Regenerative.

AGW also offers a number of free services including technical and marketing support. We invite you to reach out to our Farmer and Market Outreach Coordinators to take advantage of these complimentary services and look forward to working with you to make the most of your high-value, market-leading certification.

The individual or entity seeking Certified Regenerative status must have management control of the farm. Cooperatives and networks of independent farms are also eligible, with the understanding that all farms in a group must be certified if the group wants to claim Certified Regenerative status.

Additionally, if the farm raises animals for meat, dairy or other agricultural production, the individual or entity seeking Certified Regenerative status must adhere to Certified Regenerative livestock standards and at least one species on the farm must be certified to Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) standards within 1 year of becoming Certified Regenerative, with a plan for all applicable species to be certified within 5 years.

No. It would be an offense to use the seal without a successful audit of the holding.

All farms are audited at least once annually to ensure compliance. Audits are impartial and based on the published standards. Though an audit is a snapshot of a farm, auditors are able to get an accurate picture of year-round practices by evaluating farm records, environmental quality and animal conditions. Annual testing of soil and high-risk factors from the Regenerative Plan will also be required.

Certified Regenerative is the only regenerative certification that functions as an immediate and ongoing partnership in regeneration, facilitating mainstream market access and widespread impact. As Certified Regenerative requires Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification for animals, this is an additional selling point for restaurants, retailers and other market-savvy buyers.

Those who gain or seek Certified Regenerative status will also have access to AGW’s valuable support services, including:

  • AGW’s marketing team that works to support farmers in accessing markets, branding and adding value to their product with the Certified Regenerative by AGW logo.
  • Listing in the AGW online directory, frequented by thousands of consumers seeking sustainable, high-welfare meat, dairy, eggs, grains and produce.
  • AGW’s expert technical staff, available to support environmentally sustainable, practical and profitable regenerative and pasture-based production.

AGW is the only farm certifier in North America backed by the ISO/IEC 17065 International Accreditation, demonstrating excellence in auditing and certifying. This is the globally recognized accreditation for certifiers.

With so much negativity around food and farming today, A Greener World also serves as a beacon of positive change. We exist to promote and support real-life farming models to the public and offer practical guidance on achieving truly sustainable livestock farming systems to farmers and ranchers.

Established in 2014, our evolving mission has four key components:

  1. To identify and promote agricultural systems that have a positive impact on the environment, society and animals (wild and farmed)
  2. To educate consumers about the environmental, social and animal outcomes of their food purchasing decisions
  3. To establish and promote trusted farm certification programs that help reconnect the consumer and food producer by encouraging—and rewarding—positive farm management changes
  4. To support independent farmers who are committed to sustainable livestock production

Certified Regenerative is the only 3rd Party certification system that truly measures change by meeting a farmer where they are and partnering with them on a journey of regeneration. It is the only regenerative agriculture program that audits in conjunction with the regenerative plan, thereby ensuring site-specific, measurable progress. Certified Regenerative also stands alone in measuring change through soil, water and air, while also requiring regenerative practices in biodiversity, buildings, animal health and welfare, and assurances of the protection of key International Labour Organization (ILO) principals of social responsibility.

Certified Regenerative does not require organic certification (though it can be done together), which enables a more diverse set of farmers and landholders to participate in the regenerative journey. Also, Certified Regenerative offers detailed criteria and principles that cover regeneration in a comprehensive manner, while also requiring testing to reflect risk of human or livestock activities.

While AGW embraces the spirit of Organic farming (and is substantially aligned with European Union Organic standards), the complete ban on antibiotic use is a fundamental flaw in the USDA Organic standard—one which results in increased animal suffering. Any regenerative approach that requires a basis of USDA organic certification will be devoid of the very critical animal welfare practice of responsible antibiotic use. AGW believes in using antibiotics as they were intended: rarely, only when necessary, and within a system designed to promote health.

Importantly, Certified Regenerative is not outcome-based, as many standards are today; rather, Certified Regenerative is a tool itself, used for measuring and managing the process of regeneration with continual improvement expectations until a state of ecological equilibrium is reached.

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