Level I: Educated — An online learning course educates participants in using the best practices in proper care and management related to wool production for their operation. Upon successful completion of this course, participants will earn an AWA Educated certificate.
Level II: Process Verified — Level II completion requires a Level I training plus development and implementation of an operating plan and maintaining records for each of the AWA standards, as well as an independent Evaluation. Evaluations must be completed with a trained evaluator (typically an Extension agent or a veterinarian) at least every 2 years. Upon successful completion of an Evaluation, producers will receive an AWA Process Verified certificate, an AWA Process Verified stencil for marking wool bales and an E-certificate number to include with wool sold.
Level III: Certified — Level III allows producers with at least a Level I certificate to demonstrate proficiency in the AWA program by arranging for an on-site, 3rd party audit to validate that the operation is in compliance with AWA standards. Trained auditors must be present at a time when sheep are being handled (such as a shearing, sorting, shipping, etc.). Upon successful completion of an audit, producers will receive an AWA Certified Certificate, an AWA Certified stencil for marking wool bales, an E-certificate number to include with wool sold, use of the AWA logo for promotional materials (with signed contract) and the ranch’s name or logo shown on the AWA website (optional). To maintain AWA Certified status, an audit or evaluation must occur every other year with an audit at least every 4 years.
Farm Group Certified — Farm Groups enables ranches to share evaluation costs and provides the opportunity to pool their wool, all while continuing to provide assurance through independent audits. Participants will be AWA Level I Educated and fulfill evaluations every 2 years. Additionally, a portion (the square root) of participants will undergo an audit at least every 4 years. Farm Group membership requires a fee to cover shared auditing costs.
Trained Auditors and Evaluators — Auditors and Evaluators play a critical role in ensuring ranches comply with the AWA Standards and providing assurance to customers. Auditors and Evaluators have experience with sheep and livestock and have been trained to provide un-biased, consistent assessments. Certified Auditors work for an independent third party company specializing in performing livestock audit services. Process Verified Evaluators are at the forefront of animal care, typically serving professionally as a veterinarian or university extension personnel.
Traceability — To maintain wool with a Process Verified or Certified certificate, wool must be traced through the supply chain using a 3rd party firm to ensure traceability and validity. Wool in final products must be 100% AWA Process Verified or Certified wool to be assured and use an AWA logo.