Organic Dairy/Livestock Certification includes Dairy Animals, Cows, Pigs, Sheep, Goats, Poultry and more.
Dairy/Livestock Certification Requirements
- Land must not have had any prohibited substances (synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, fertilizers, treated seeds) applied to it for at least three years to be eligible for certification.
- Treated wood, including fence posts, is prohibited where it may come into contact with organic land or animals.
- A three-year history on every field and pasture must be submitted. It must include crops grown, and substances applied for the past three years. If any seeds were planted, seed receipts for the prior three years will be required to show that untreated, non-GMO seeds were used.
- Maps showing all fields and pastures with ID#, acreage, buffers, roads, and adjoining land use must be submitted.
- Buffer zones are required where organic fields adjoin conventional fields. Wider buffer zones may be necessary where organic fields adjoin conventional fields with genetically modified crops.
- Use of treated seeds is prohibited and will disqualify a field from certification for three years. Certified organic seeds are required and untreated seeds may be used only under the commercial availability clause in the USDA’s National Organic Program’s Final Rule. This must be documented.
- Pasture must be managed in a way that prevents erosion or water quality problems. In addition, access to streams and rivers must be restricted/managed in order to prevent these problems. Fenced riparian buffer zones are recommended along waterways to stabilize banks and reduce runoff and erosion.
- Livestock over six months old must have access to managed pasture with edible forage during the entire grazing season (minimum of 120 days). This must be the practice at the beginning of transition (.75 acres of pasture per 1000# animal unit is recommended.) Ruminant animals must receive at least 30% of their dry matter intake (DMI) from pasture during the grazing season. No more than 70% DMI can be from stored feeds during the grazing season.
- Develop appropriate housing for animals, including young stock. Animals over 6 months old must have daily access to the outdoors (including winter), and 30% DMI from pasture during the grazing season (minimum of 120 days).
- Hay, straw or corn stalks used for bedding must be organic. Wood shavings and sawdust are allowed as long as they are from untreated wood and have no additives.
- Tail docking is prohibited. A herd with docked tails may enter the transition program, but tail docking must be discontinued by the start of transition.
- All feed supplements, including minerals and salt blocks must be approved. Antibiotics, GMO-derived products, animal by-products, urea, manure and synthetic preservatives are not permitted in any feed products. Mineral supplements must not contain prohibited ingredients (such as mineral oil and artificial flavors & colors).
- All animals, including calves must be fed 100% certified organic feed. Feed harvested from first (T1) and second (T2) year transitional fields is not allowed.
- Hay, straw, corn stalks, and other agricultural products used as bedding must be certified organic.
- Replacement animals must be managed organically from the last third of gestation.
- The primary means of animal identification must be ear tags or tattoos. Neck chains may be used in addition if desired, but not as the primary ID system.
- Use of antibiotics or other synthetic substances to treat animals is prohibited; animal must be removed from the herd if antibiotics or other synthetic substances are used. All treatments must be documented on a medication record.
- Meat animals must be managed organically from the last third of gestation. The mother must be fed 100% certified organic feed for the last third of her pregnancy. The young must be fed 100% certified organic feed from birth. (no milk replacer) It must be documented. No antibiotics, hormones or chemical wormers are allowed. There are no exceptions.
- To market certified organic meat, the slaughterhouse must be certified organic.
- Poultry must be managed organically from the second day of life. They must be fed only organic feed and pasture.
- Purchase records and flock ID records must be kept for all birds. Poultry that is on the farm prior to applying for certification will not qualify to produce organic eggs or meat.
- Poultry must be provided with meaningful outdoor access. Birds may not be totally confined in buildings. Outdoor access must allow birds the opportunity to exhibit their natural behavior, including pecking on the ground, have access to fresh air and direct sunlight, weather permitting, at the earliest age suitable for the type of bird. The poultry house should provide 1.5 square feet of floor space for chickens, and/or 3 square feet of floor space per turkey, for use during time of inclement weather. The use of cages is prohibited inside poultry houses. Outdoor access should provide the same footage per bird as inside space.