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Let Them Eat Grass! NODPA's Pasture Rule Resource Page

Timeline for Implementation of Pasture Rule for Dairy

February 12, 2010
Final Access to Pasture Rule is announced by USDA Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan

February 17, 2010
Final Rule published on the Federal register

June 16, 2010
Final rule is effective. All new operations certified on or after June 17 are required to have an Organic Systems Plan (OSP) that shows how they can meet the new regulations. Operations that are already certified have an implementation period of 1 year.

June 17, 2011
All organically certified dairy operations are required to have OSP’s that show how they will meet the new regulations and their operation will need to be in compliance.

What People Are Saying About The Pasture Rule

"This is the biggest deal in the organic community for many years."
Miles McEvoy
Head of the USDA NOP

"I am still pinching myself to be sure that this is all real--after all these years it seems almost too good to be true."
Kathie Arnold
New York producer

"This is a sound and commendable pasture rule clarification that eliminates all the loopholes of the past and puts controversy behind us."
Michael Sligh of the Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA

"The rulemaking is long overdue, and producers and processors need the clarity in the rule to plan for the future and to continue ensuring the integrity of organic certification for the consumer."
Tony Azovedo, California Producer and President of the Western Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (WODPA)

"This Final rule is great as it  has the specificity and detail that we need to have a level playing field across the country."
Darlene Coehoorn, Wisconsin producer and President of the Midwest Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (MODPA)

"Well Done! Thanks and Congratulations to all who have worked so long and hard  getting to this point."
Steve Morrison
Maine producer and NODPA past President

After many years of work and consensus building an Access to Pasture Final rule was released by the USDA on February 12, 2010. All certified organic dairy operations need to be in compliance with the new rule by June 17, 2011.

Certifier Resources and OSP Documents

Below are some resources provided by some accredited certifiers and organzations providing educational material. If you are a certifier or educator with helpful resources or record keeping forms that you would like to share, please send to: info@nodpa.com.

  1. Vermont Organic Farmers (www.nofavt.org)
    VOF DAIRY INFORMATION SHEET– new and continuing applicants
    VOF GRAZING SEASON FEED RATION CHANGE RECORDS
    VOF THE NEW PASTURE RULE AND ORGANIC CERTIFICATION
    VOF Grazing System Management Records - OPTIONAL - Where Are My Cows?

    Article: Improving Pasture Production & Quality
  2. Midwest Organic Services Association (www.mosaorganic.org)
    MOSA Organic System Plan Addendum
  3. Documents from Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (www.mofga.org)
    MOFGA Pasture Rule Article
    MOFGA Feed Ration Changes
    MOFGA Feed Chart & Grazing Information
  4. Resources from the NOP Pasture Rule
    Website: (www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop, click on 'Pasture Rulemaking Information)   
    NOP Calculating DMI from Pasture
    NOP Pasture Worksheet for rotational stock grazing systems
    NOP Frequently asked questions, March 17, 2010

NOP Trainings/Resources:

  1. Dr. Kerry R. Smith's Pasture Rule Presentation, Part 1 (posted March 25, 2010)
    In a recent webinar, Dr. Kerry R. Smith of the USDA AMS National Organic Program, gave an overview of the main components of the Pasture Rule. Content includes a summary of the amendments, effective dates, general clarifications, Calculating Dry Matter Demand and Dry Matter Intake, living conditions and the Pasture Practice Standard. Click here to view her presentation.
  2. Dr Kerry R. Smith's Pasture Rule Presentation, Part 2 (posted May 14, 2010)
    Part 2 includes nutritional requirements of ruminant livestock, body condition scoring, the 'Whole Picture' (Producer role, Reviewer role, Inspector role and Certifier role) and case study examples sharing examples where a farm would be: 1) compliant, 2) insufficient OSP, not inspected, 3) non compliant and 4) gray zone. Click here to view part 2.

Resources produced by NODPA, VOF, MOSES and USDA Agricultural Research Station:

  1. Moses Fact Sheet
  2. Day by Day Pasture Records Worksheet
  3. VOF Pasture Dry Matter Calculation Worksheet
  4. Dry Matter calculation by Kathy Soder, USDA ARS
  5. Walking Energy requirements by Kathy Soder, USDA ARS
  6. Pasture consumption calculation by Lisa McCrory

Other Related Resources:

  1. How’s and Why’s of the Pasture Ruleby Dave Johnson
  2. DMI Worksheet (excel sheet); template provided by Perry Clutts
  3. Pasture Rule Insights,  By Lisa McCrory, November, 2010
  4. Access to Pasture Resources by Deb Heleba , September, 2010
  5. Interview with Richard Mathews, September, 2010
  6. Calculating DMI from Pastureby Harriet Behar and eOrganic Dairy Team
Historical Documentation:
  1. USDA press release on the Final Rule on Friday February 12, 2010.
  2. FOOD Farmers celebrates the release of the Final Rule.
  3. Thumbs Up on the Access to Pasture Final Rule from the National Organic Coalition.
  4. Pasture Rule Draws Bright Line Benefiting Cows & Consumers ... a commentary by Sam Fromartz
  5. Interview with Kathie Arnold about her farm and the Pasture Rule
  6. New NOP Pasture Regulation Meets Expectations of Organic Community, by Harriet Behar
  7. Federation of Organic Dairy Farmers (FOOD Farmers) Report Document following the 1st Summit Meeting of organic dairy producers and processors, June, 2007, in Boulder, Colorado.
  8. NODPA Pasture Rule Comments, Dec 23, 2008 
  9. The National Organic Program has a good history of the pasture rule progress and all the documents, transcripts and comments. Click here to view it.
  10. CCOF Inspection Program: In mid-2008, CCOF instituted an unannounced inspection program focused on livestock operations.   This was done to address concerns about pasture availability, grazing access and other concerns of non-compliance.  You can see details of their program by clicking here. CCOF has been pouring resources into ensuring the ongoing compliance of all CCOF certified organic dairies to ensure fair competition in the marketplace.
  11. Pastureland Cooperative interviewed Ed Maltby on the proposed new pasture rule. To read the interview, go to:  http://www.pastureland.coop/Ed+Maltby.