Pasture Rule

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Pasture Rule Information and Resources for Livestock Producers

The National Organic Program (NOP) published the Pasture Rule on February 12, 2010. This rule was years in the making, with input from a large number of interested parties and over 26,000 comments submitted to NOP. The final version had the support of the three regional organic dairy producers associations and has seen an overall positive response from all sectors of the community, including producers, processors, watchdog groups, and consumers.  

The pasture rule has been implemented with verification of full compliance required as of June 17, 2011.

Pasture Rule Compliance Tools and Resources

CCOF Feed Ration DMI Worksheet

Use the CCOF Feed Ration DMI Worksheet throughout the grazing season to document the Dry Matter Intake (DMI) in each ration fed to each class of animal. Complete a new worksheet anytime the ration for a class of animals changes.

CCOF DMI Grazing Season Average Worksheet

Use the CCOF DMI Grazing Season Average Worksheet at the end of the grazing season to average the DMI from each feed ration to find the overall average DMI from pasture for the entire grazing season for each class of animals.

CCOF Table of Common Feed Type Dry Matter %

Use the CCOF Table of Common Feed Type Dry Matter % document as a reference for average dry matter percentages for common feeds.

CCOF OSP Sections

Section L3.1 (Ruminant Livestock Feed and Water)4.0 (Livestock Living Conditions), and 4.1 (Pasture Management Plan) are required to be completed by all CCOF certified ruminant producers to reflect the new requirements of the Pasture Rule. These sections are required along with the full OSP for organic certification.

National Organic Program (NOP) Pasture Rule Website

The National Organic Program (NOP) Pasture Rule website includes a PowerPoint training document, the full text of the new regulations, a Q&A, and supporting documentation, including DMD and DMI worksheets.

NODPA Pasture Rule Resources Page

The NODPA Pasture Rule Resources page includes reference and background information for producers to help with understanding the rule.

ATTRA/NOP Resource Packet

The ATTRA/NOP resource packet is a helpful guide for understanding and maintaining compliance under the Pasture Rule.

Pasture Rule Highlights

  • All ruminant animals must receive 30% of their DMI from pasture during the grazing season. This will need to be calculated and documented based on averages of each type of animal over the grazing season. Operations must be able to demonstrate compliance with these requirements during inspections by CCOF, the National Organic Program, or state organic programs.
  • It is up to the producer to develop a plan for calculating DMI and DMD, and to submit these plans to CCOF for approval.
  • The grazing season is a minimum of 120 days per year but may be up to 365 days depending on weather conditions.
  • There are specific limitations on confinement of ruminant animals from pasture, including that lactation is not a reason for confinement.
  • Calves must be provided access to pasture at six months of age.
  • Confinement from pasture is allowed only for one week for dry off, three weeks prior to parturition, and one week post-parturition.
  • Roughages used as bedding must be organic.
  • Slaughter stock are exempt from the DMI requirements during a finishing period but must be maintained on pasture during that time.