#Organic requirements for on-farm biodiversity
Certified organic farms are required to promote and conserve biodiversity. This is done by maintaining or improving natural resources including soil, water, wetland, woodlands, and wildlife.
Do I need to start new on-farm practices to conserve biodiversity?
The USDA National Organic Program’s (NOP) guidance encourages farmers to perform or expand a range of practices to conserve and improve biodiversity. Start by reviewing your current farm management activities to find opportunities to incorporate conservation practices in different areas of your farm.
What activities should I look at improving?
The guidance discusses several sample activities. Many also qualify for USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) financial and technical assistance:
- Control erosion and filter pollutants to protect water quality
- Enhance water quantity
- Create wildlife habitat, shelter and food sources
- Conserve wildlife corridors and habitat to reduce fragmentation
#Benefits of on-farm biodiversity
The USDA National Organic Program’s (NOP) Guidance on Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation champions organic farms’ core principles of conservation-minded agriculture. These practices benefit more than local biodiversity and natural resources.
What are some farm benefits of conservation practices?
Upon implementation, many farmers experience increased soil health, soil with better water retention, reductions in pests due to the presence of more beneficial insects, improved pollination, and higher yields. Additionally, farmers report reductions in fertigation costs and are eligible for federal funding support.
Interested in increasing pollinator habitat? Check out Bee Better Certified™, our pollinator certification program offered in partnership with the Xerces Society.
#Financial and technical resources
The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) can provide technical and financial assistance to agricultural producers who are implementing conservation projects on certified organic farms.
You can learn more through your local conservation district.
What is the CAP 138 program?
The Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) 138 helps farmers identify conservation practices needed to address a specific natural resource need, and then apply for financial assistance to implement the recommended conservation practices.
What is EQIP?
The Environmental Quality Incentives Program Organic Initiative (EQIP) provides technical and financial assistance (up to $20,000 per year) to help farmers implement conservation planning and practices such as establishing buffer zones, improving soil quality while minimizing erosion, and more.