Our Value

What is Leading Harvest?

Leading Harvest is a nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the transition to a more sustainable and resilient global agricultural system. Through our universally applicable, third-party audited standards, we mobilize the entire value chain, from farm to retailer, ensuring a cohesive and trusted approach to sustainable agriculture.

What makes Leading Harvest Certification uniquely valuable?

Leading Harvest Standards differ from other agriculture certification programs in a few key areas:

  1. Leading Harvest Standards create a common language for the business ecosystem. Leading Harvest aligns entities across the supply chain on clear, consistent, and overarching standards – eliminating confusion between options, tiers, or versions of certification. This makes it easier for both Program Users and their customers to communicate value and align incentives. It also reduces the administrative burden on individual growers, producers, and processors.
  2. Leading Harvest Standards always require third-party verification. Leading Harvest Standards also requires certifying bodies themselves to be accredited to certify management systems according to internationally recognized accreditation standards. This creates trust across the business ecosystem, which enables businesses to realize the fruits of their positive impact such as preferred terms on contracts, licenses to operate, or premiums.
  3. Leading Harvest Standards are a vehicle for driving action. In addition to building trust through third-party audited certification, the Leading Harvest Standard is a mechanism for certified companies to drive positive changes in their supply chains. It creates a process of measurement, evaluation, and routine identification of areas for improvement, year over year. Rather than simply meeting a static list of requirements, those certifying to the Leading Harvest Standard are committing to methodical changes toward long-term goals.
  4. Leading Harvest Standards are universally applicable. Leading Harvest Standards are designed to cover all crop types and regions. While many certification programs are prescriptive in nature, determining compliance based on checklists of practices, Leading Harvest Standard indicators focus on management systems that can achieve a desired outcome. With this flexibility, organizations can apply our standards broadly across each unique property in a farmland portfolio while also taking a localized approach to driving improvements. Each property manager can determine their own path toward sustainable outcomes – the path that works best for their unique operation.

“Leading Harvest is a one-stop shop for our sustainability platform. It’s a framework for everything.”

Christopher Jay, Managing Director at PGIM Real Estate

What is a management system standard?

Leading Harvest Standards require organizations to have their own process for continually setting targets, implementing changes, and measuring outcomes. Rather than auditing a static checklist of practices and performance targets, conformance to Leading Harvest Standards is based on having a management system that drives continual improvement toward Leading Harvest’s 13 core principles of sustainability.

What does sustainability mean under Leading Harvest Standards?

By certifying to a Leading Harvest Standard, an organization is committing to identifying areas for improvement and routinely applying changes to its management system. Leading Harvest’s broad-spectrum approach to sustainability allows them to proactively address a full suite of environmentally, socially, and economically sustainable outcomes.


  1. Sustainable Agriculture
  2. Soil Health and Conservation
  3. Protection of Water Resources
  4. Protection of Crops
  5. Energy Use, Air Quality and Climate Change
  6. Waste and Material Management
  7. Conservation of Biodiversity
  8. Protection of Special Sites
  9. Local Communities
  10. Employees and Farm Labor
  11. Legal and Regulatory Compliance
  12. Management Review and Continual Improvement
  13. Tenant-Operated Operations

Does certification to Leading Harvest Standards mean a farm is regenerative?

Leading Harvest Standards are tools that facilitate the transition to a more sustainable agricultural production system in a broad sense – a system that is more efficient, that drives improvement, and that creates resilience. Our members use Leading Harvest Standards and their publicly available audit reports to support commitments to sustainable, regenerative, and resilient agricultural supply chains. Leading Harvest Standards are inclusive of core tenants of regenerative agriculture, but they are more comprehensive in scope.