Leading Harvest

Our Standards

Leading Harvest Standards

Universally applicable

Many specialized certification programs are prescriptive in nature, determining compliance based on checklists of practices. Our indicators focus on management systems that can achieve a desired outcome, which allow the farmland manager freedom within a framework to determine their pathway to meet the objectives.

Flexible and adaptable

Our standards can be scaled across all geographies, crop types, and management systems. With this flexibility, organizations can apply certification across a diverse portfolio while also taking a localized approach to driving improvements.

Third-party verified

In addition to third-party verifying outcomes, Leading Harvest requires that the certifying bodies themselves be accredited to certify management systems according to internationally recognized accreditation standards.

Continuously improving

Certifying members must identify areas for improvement from one year to the next through our core principle of continuous improvement. This generates positive impact for farm businesses each year while ensuring sustainability efforts keep up with evolving scientific findings, agronomic knowledge, and societal expectations.


Conformance to Leading Harvest standards is based on having a management system that drives continuous improvement toward a broad spectrum of sustainability including environmental and social factors:

  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
Leading Harvest

The Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard

The Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard, our inaugural standard, creates a common language for agricultural sustainability across the supply chain. Globally, more than 3 million acres across more than 100 crop types are now enrolled.

From time to time, a formal process may be needed to interpret the Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard or supporting documents. Please view a record of formal interpretations by Leading Harvest here.

The Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard — Pasture and Livestock

The Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard — Pasture and Livestock Standard adds a 14th Principle focused on animal wellbeing to the existing Leading Harvest Farmland Management Standard.

Standard Revisions

In April of 2021, the Leading Harvest Board of Directors adopted a five-year revision cycle for its standards globally. Revisions will be an essential part of Leading Harvest’s own process of continual improvement and will help to ensure that its standards evolve with both societal expectations for sustainability as well as scientific and agronomic knowledge.