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NOP Releases Final Organic Pasture Rule

February 12, 2010- the NOP released the final pasture regulation with a 120 day implementation period. All organic livestock operators should immediately read.

This final rule amends livestock and related provisions of the NOP regulations.
Under the NOP, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees national standards for the production and handling of organically produced agricultural products. AMS has taken this action to ensure that NOP livestock production regulations have sufficient specificity and clarity to enable AMS and accredited certifying agents to efficiently administer the NOP and to facilitate and improve compliance and enforcement. This action is also intended to satisfy consumer expectations that ruminant livestock animals graze on pastures during the grazing season.

Oregon Tilth has reviewed the full rule change and has outlined 12 key points or changes to the current regulation.  The 12 key points are listed below and are meant to clarify and solidify the requirements for pasture access.  The rule will become effective June 17, 2010 and will be fully implemented on June 17, 2011.

Key points to consider during this transition and implementation are:

  • Livestock operations which are already certified on June 17, 2010 must be in full compliance by June 17, 2011.
  • Livestock operations which obtain organic certification by June 17, 2010 must comply with this final rule.


download register (pdf)

NOP Pasture rulemaking website

  • Limits Dry Matter Demand (DMD) from dry matter fed to no more than an average of 70%  §205.237(c)(1)
  • Minimum 120 days grazed per calendar year  §205.237(c)(1)
  • Minimum 30% average of dry matter intake (DMI) from grazing for animals meeting temporary confinement regulation  §205.237(c)(2)(i)
  • Organic System Plans have to explicitly define total feed rations for each production group, including a method for calculating DMI and DMD §205.237(d)(1-4)
  • Producers must keep very accurate records of rations, feeding, and grazing schedules. Records will have to be audited carefully. Any changes must be reported to the certifier §205.237(d)(2-3)
  • Outdoor access has to be year-round §205.239(a)(1)
  • Prescriptive language about yards, feed pads and feedlots, have to demonstrate they are large enough for livestock to occupy “without crowding and without competition for food”  §205.239(a)(1)
  • Roughage used as bedding will have to be organic §205.239(a)(3)
  • Expanded and prescriptive language temporary confinement: including restrictions on 4-H, FFA and youth project animals, breeding, parturition, etc. 205.237(b)
  • Calves can be confined for up to six months §205.239(c)(2)
  • Slaughter stock exempt from 30%DMI during finishing period; finishing period cannot exceed 1/5 of animal’s total life or 120 days, whichever is shorter  §205.239(d)
  • Create a Pasture Management Plan §205.240(a-c)
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