Vermont Organic Farmers Uses FormAssembly to Set a New Standard for Organic Certification
The Form Advocate
Katy Lash, Certification Program Assistant
Case Study Snapshot
“We love how FormAssembly is designed and how it has the functionalities we need in order to meet all of our requirements,” Lash said.
Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF) uses FormAssembly to collect application and certification information for producers looking to obtain or renew organic certification on a variety of crop, livestock, and processed products. Prior to 2017, the organization relied heavily on paper forms and manual data entry.
The switch to FormAssembly helped VOF eliminate outdated paper processes, trim printing and mailing costs, and cut down on the administrative burden of slow data entry. The ability to connect their clients’ information directly to Salesforce provided a hassle-free way to track the detailed application forms received daily.
About Vermont Organic Farmers (VOF)
VOF is the USDA accredited certification program of The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT). Vermont Organic Farmers believes that organic production enhances soil, plant, animal, and human health to protect the environment for current and future generations. Organic certification is needed to verify these production practices and to ensure that organic products are produced with integrity and transparency. VOF provides consumers with a process and label they can trust. NOFA-VT is a nonprofit organization made up of farmers, gardeners, and local consumers “working to promote an economically viable and ecologically sound Vermont food system for the benefit of current and future generations.”
The organization was established in 1971, making it one of the oldest organic farming associations in the United States. Today, NOFA-VT has over 1,200 members throughout the state and through VOF certifies over 700 farms and processors to the USDA National Organic Program Standards.
paper applications per year, now processed by smart web forms
pages of application condensed to 1 web form
web forms in use by the organization
VOF turned to FormAssembly due to the volume of lengthy forms that they previously processed on paper. Staff mailed out applications and renewal paperwork for organic certification, producers had to fill out the same information annually whether it had changed or not, and then the same paperwork was again mailed to inspectors for their review.
One of the main issues was that clients were being asked to fill out the same information year after year, despite the fact that the majority of information they submitted did not change annually.
Additionally, VOF was shouldering the costs for printing, postage, and data entry. With the implementation of FormAssembly features, they eliminated the need to rifle through stacks of papers, and they developed a more organized system that flowed to Salesforce.
“FormAssembly allows us the ability to collect all the information we need to collect for application renewals in a very efficient way, because the data flows directly into Salesforce,” Lash said.
Lash described the switch to FormAssembly as a culture change within the organization that helped them recognize the potential for further advancement. FormAssembly helps VOF accomplish lengthy application and approval processes with less time and energy. It also creates a path for seamless and fast reporting, as information is now quickly updated to their Salesforce system.
Salesforce Prefill Connector
FormAssembly’s Salesforce Prefill Connector is a huge benefit to the producers applying for certification. According to Lash, producers were previously asked to submit as many as 20 pages of information on paper annually, some of which included repetitive data. With FormAssembly, this information can be prefilled in advance to help producers avoid reporting the same information each year.
Conditional Logic Questions
The conditional logic setup within the Form Builder allows VOF to customize forms by producer.
“Everyone’s situation is unique, because it depends on what they’re certifying,” Lash said.
With conditional logic, the forms can change intuitively based on whether a producer is looking to certify seed, livestock, produce, or other goods. By implementing FormAssembly, questions only appear if they apply to certain producers.
VOF’s clients often have to submit additional attachments as part of the application process. These can include documents, spreadsheets, and product label proofs. FormAssembly’s attachment features make it simple for applicants to attach these files directly to their application. VOF staff members benefit from the documents going directly to Salesforce, without additional scanning or uploading.