The IPM categories from Basic through Master levels involve a progression from low to high management involvement. At the Basic level there must be compliance with laws pertaining to pesticide use, worker protection and environmental protection. The next level, Steward, includes implementation of conservation practices on parts of the farm, compliance with additional customer requirements, and more documentation than legal requirements, such as pest scouting results. At the Expert level the farm is also involved in environmental audits, normally those of customers, has established goals for environmental improvement, and has again more documentation of practices, including the results of pest control practices. The Master level is the highest level of achievement and indicates that environmental sustainability is practiced across the farm, that environmental improvement has occurred, and that the farm is sometimes a demonstration site or the farm management are committed to sustainable agriculture and IPM through leadership activities.
- The farm follows all regulations pertaining to pesticide use, worker protection, and environmental protection.
- The farm practices food safety principles, though may not be certified or audited.
- The farm follows non-regulated basic agricultural practices.
Steward (in addition to Basic)
- The farm complies with customer contract terms related to pesticides, workers, environment and food safety.
- There are conservation practices in place on areas of the farm.
- The farm can document some practices beyond those documents that are legally required.
Expert (in addition to Basic and Steward)
- The farm has participated in or passed sustainability and environmental audits.
- The farm has established goals for environmental improvement.
- Environmental principles are applied to the whole farm.
- The farm has documentation for some environmental practices.
- The farm has records for pest control results.
Master (in addition to Basic, Steward and Expert)
- The farm is certified for sustainable, environmental, and worker practices (CSR).
- The farm has documented some level of environmental or resource improvement.
- The farm or the farmer participates or assists in planning of resource conservation or pesticide use education.