Outdoor access and pasture

What are the outdoor access requirements for organic livestock?

The organic standards require farmers to establish and maintain livestock living conditions that accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals suitable to the species, stage of life, climate, and the environment.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Access to the outdoors
  • Shade
  • Shelter
  • Exercise
  • Clean water for drinking
  • Appropriate and clean dry bedding

Can I temporarily confine my animals due to pregnancy, inclement weather etc.?

You may be eligible to provide temporary confinement for animals if:

  • Severe inclement weather poses a threat to the animals
  • Stage of life requires protection or separation
  • Separation is the only protection for the health, safety, or well-being of the animals
  • Soil or water quality require protection

Short periods of confinement may also be allowed for health care practices, treatments, sorting, shipping, breeding, or youth projects.

All reasons for temporary confinement have a maximum length of time. You will need to provide detailed information regarding reasons and time periods for confinement in your OSP.

What documentation do I need for outdoor access?

You must provide documentation to demonstrate you’ve met all outdoor access requirements.

Recordkeeping is required for normal management activities as well as any deviation from standard practices. Some livestock operations maintain a standard operating procedure manual, noting changes or differences from your protocols. Inspectors and certifiers will review the documentation to confirm that you are meeting your outdoor access plan and all requirements.

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