Pasture Guidance Language Adopted by the NOSB

August 24th, 2005

The following is the exact language that the National Organic Standards Board adopted on August 16 as guidance requirements for pasture and dairy cows and other ruminants.

Guidance for interpretation of §205.239(a)(2)

A. Organic System Plan

Ruminant livestock shall should graze pasture during the months of the year when pasture can provide edible forage. The Organic System Plan shall should have the goal of providing a significant portion of the total feed requirements as grazed feed greater than 30% dry matter intake on a daily basis during the growing season but not less than 120 days per year. Growing season means the time of year of that pasture growth is possible from natural precipitation or manual irrigation practice. The Organic System Plan shall include a timeline showing how the producer will satisfy the goal to maximize optimize the pasture component of total feed used in the farm system. For livestock operations with ruminant animals, the operation’s Organic System Plan shall describe: 1) the amount of pasture provided per animal; 2) the average amount of time that animals are grazed on a daily basis; 3) the portion of the total feed requirement that will be provided from pasture; 4) circumstances under which animals will be temporarily confined; and 5) the records that are maintained to demonstrate compliance with pasture requirements.

B. Temporary Confinement

Temporary confinement means the period of time when a ruminant livestock are is denied pasture. The length of temporary confinement will vary according to the conditions on which it is based (such as the duration of inclement weather) and instances of temporary confinement shall should be the minimum time necessary. In no case shall should temporary confinement be allowed as a continuous production system. All instances of temporary confinement shall should be documented in the Organic System Plan and in records maintained by the operation.

Temporary confinement is allowed only in the following situations:

      1) During periods of inclement weather such as severe weather occurring over a period of a few days during the grazing season;

 

      2) Conditions under which the health, safety, or well being of an individual animal could

 

      be jeopardized, including to restore the health of an individual animal or to prevent

 

      the spread of disease from an infected animal to other animals;

 

    3) To protect soil or water quality

C) Appropriate Pasture Conditions

As a tool for the farmer and the certifier, appropriate pasture conditions can be determined by referring to the regional Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Practice Standards for Prescribed Grazing (Code 528) for the number of animals in the Organic Systems Plan.

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The National Organic Program Standards can be viewed at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/NOP/NOPhome.html

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