What buffers are required for organic parcels?

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Response times may be slow due to the wildfires affecting Santa Cruz County and Covid-19. Organic compliance deadlines and inspections will be delayed for businesses affected by these crises. Read the latest updates on the Northern California wildfires, and visit our Covid-19 webpage to find pandemic-specific information »

Los tiempos de respuesta serán lentos debido a los incendios forestales afectando al condado de Santa Cruz y COVID-19. Los plazos de cumplimiento orgánico y las inspecciones se retrasarán para los negocios afectados por estas crisis.  Lea las últimas actualizaciones sobre los incendios forestales del norte de California y visite nuestra página web de Covid-19 para encontrar información específica a la pandemia »

The NOP regulations do not have specific prescriptive requirements regarding distance for buffering your organic crop from potential contaminants. Prior to implementation of the NOP, 25 feet was used as a baseline for appropriate buffers. CCOF still uses this as a threshold of concern to guide our decision making process along with other mitigating factors such as physical barriers and agricultural practices.

The following NOP requirements are applicable when assessing borders and boundaries of certified operations:

  • You must describe the physical barriers or management practices that prevent the contamination of organic crop or lands.
  • You must also clearly define (signs, roads, fencing, etc.) the boundaries of your organic farm.
  • You must incorporate preventative measures along your parcel boundaries. Examples include:
    • Notifying your neighbors in writing that your land is under organic management.
    • Posting “No Spray” or “Organic” signs along the boundaries of your parcels.
    • Requesting that the county road department not spray the roadways adjacent to your land.

Each situation will be judged on the merits of the specific case. Be sure to include all buffer situations in your Organic System Plan.