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Livestock Producer FAQ's

FAQ's specific to livestock production

cows

If I seek organic certification for my cattle do all of the animals on my farm have to be managed organically?

No, it is possible to have a “Split Production” meaning some animals are managed organically and others are not.  It is important to make sure that the organic animals are easily identifiable, organic health treatments and organic feeds are kept separately, there are records in place to show all farm activities for both organic and conventional animals, and that only organic feed and allowed health treatments are given to organic animals.

Why do I have to fill out two applications when I am seeking organic livestock certification?

Livestock operations manage pasture or crop ground as well as animals. Since there are two production systems in production there must be an organic management plan in place for both. Therefore it is required that livestock operations fill out an Organic Crops Plan Application and an Organic Livestock Plan Application.

I am unsure about what healthcare materials I can use for my animals. Is there any place to find a list of products that are approved?

Any health treatment that is to be given to organic animals must contain allowed ingredients.  Oregon Tilth will review ingredient lists at any time.  It is suggested that Oregon Tilth receive and review ingredient information prior to the product being used.  Remember to submit the full ingredient statement as the guaranteed analysis does not represent the actual product ingredients.  Two sources that do provide products approved for use are The Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) and the Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program. Oregon Tilth is allowed by the USDA to follow the product review conducted by each of these programs.

Can Non-Organic animals be pastured on organic land?

Yes, non-organic animals can graze certified organic land.

Can I convert my herd using the 80/20 provision, where I feed 20% conventional feed for 9 months of the animal’s 12 month transition period?

No, the National Organic Program Regulation was amended and that exception was discontinued on June 9, 2007.  From that date forward organic animals (except poultry) must be managed for 12 consecutive months on 100% organic feed to qualify to be certified organic.

Do I need to use organic feed supplements, mineral mixes, and salt?

Salt cannot be certified organic so plain salt is allowed in organic production.  Mineral mixes and feed supplements need to contain organic agricultural ingredients.  So molasses, carriers (rice hulls, wheat midlings, grain byproducts, etc.), and other agricultural products like alfalfa meal or soy meal are required to be organic.  It must also be verified that yeast, yeast products, and any bacteria products are not a genetically modified organism.  The feed or mineral dealer should be able to provide you with documentation.

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