What buffers are required for organic parcels?

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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.