As a condition of certification, all CNG farmers and beekeepers have agreed to conduct at least one inspection of another CNG producer every year - if there is one within an hour's drive who needs an inspection. Do not feel sheepish about requesting an inspection of another Certified Naturally Grown farmer.
Even so, when you reach out to someone to request they conduct your inspection, remember that they too are busy farmers. Placing a thoughtful request will serve you well. Here are some tips to help you succeed.
Give priority to the farms with the orange notebook and check mark next to their listing when choosing an inspector. These are the members who are due - or over-due - to conduct an inspection of another farm. By giving them the opportunity to visit your farm, you're helping these farmers complete their own CNG program requirements, and - best of all - you're giving them an opportunity to connect with a peer!
Reach out by email and then follow-up by phone the next day if you don't receive a reply.
When sending an email, provide as much information as possible to make it easy and appealing for the inspector to respond, including the following:
- introduce yourself, what you produce, where you sell, etc.
- include a link to your farm's website, Facebook page, or CNG profile
- ask if they'd be willing to conduct your CNG inspection
- suggest some times when you'd be available for an inspection
- provide your phone number
Be persistent. If you don't get a reply, follow-up by phone.
Look to some of the alternative inspectors listed in the guidelines for your certification type, if you're not within an hour's drive from any other CNG producers of your type.
Rely solely on email. A phone call is more personal, has a greater impact, and helps the potential inspector get to know you a little better.
Rely on the same inspector year after year. If you rely on repeat inspectors, particularly when there are other CNG farmers in your area, it compromises the integrity of the program and shortchanges you by not giving you diverse perspectives on your farm. Plus you risk the possibility that the inspection will not be considered valid.
Request an inspection from someone who is more than one hour's driving distance from you (unless you think they're likely to have a reason to be in your area anyway, eg. to visit family or to pick up supplies).
Trade inspections with someone who has inspected you within the past 18 months.
Send a short impersonal email that says nothing about you except that you need a CNG inspection. :)
Contact a CNG member for an inspection if their type of farming is unrelated to yours (beekeeping vs. cattle raising, for example).