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How long do I need to keep my farm records for?

Accurate and detailed records are not only necessary to demonstrate compliance with various regulations and schemes, but they can be useful in making business decisions and running an efficient farm. In the event of a pest or disease incursion on your farm or in the local area, they can be useful in biosecurity tracing and containment efforts.

The time frames for making and retaining your farm records is a legal requirement, and will differ depending on your state, activity, regulation or scheme.

It is a good habit to make a record of your activity or action immediately, so you can ensure the accuracy of the details; meet the legal requirement; and you won't forget.

Retaining and accessing historical paper records can be time consuming and require a great deal of space. Moving to a digital record keeping system (such as Grower Support) not only resolves your problem of space and retention time frames, but also makes finding and compiling records for audit or future planning so much easier. Grower Support keeps all records in secure cloud storage for seven years, ensuring you meet all the following time frames.

Queensland Reef Protection Regulations - records must be made within three days of the activity or action of using a prescribed agricultural ERA product, and kept for at least six years.

Hort360 Reef Certification - records must be kept for at least 3 years to allow for tri-annual auditing.

AgVet Chemicals - records must be made within 48 hours of using the AgVet chemical product, and kept for two years from the date of use.

Global Food Safety Initiatives (Freshcare, GLOBALG.A.P, SQF or BRC) - records should be made immediately at the time of checking/monitoring or as soon as possible thereafter, and kept for two years. Another person in authority should check or verify all food safety records.

Financial records - the ATO requires primary producers to keep the same records as other businesses, (there are some other considerations depending if you take part in a deposit scheme, fuel tax credits, wine equalisation tax). You must keep records of all transactions relating to your tax, superannuation, income and expenses. Generally you need to keep most records for five years. There are some situations where you will need to keep records for longer.

Interstate Certification Assurance and Certification Assurance Accreditation schemes - system records must be retained for four years from completion.

Notice of Presence of Panama disease tropical race 4 - all records that demonstrate compliance with the risk minimisation processes and procedures, such as decontamination and movement of appliance records, must be retained for 12 months.

There may be other records that you must keep to demonstrate that your activities on your farm are in accordance with law or rules that apply. If you are unsure, please get in touch with me at to discuss your needs. We are able to customise forms for your record keeping needs.

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