Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
Organic Standards Part II
Aug 19, 2011
Organic Standards Part II
As you all know from time to time I review past blog posts and include your comments and questions.
This week we will be doing a follow-up to last week’s blog that was titled "Certified Organic? Sure! I Think?"
On Tuesday I received a n e-mail from Soo Kim of the Dept. of Agriculture in response to that blog. I am always appreciative when someone points out inconsistencies in information or way’s to improve our farming practices and this is one of them. Soo’s response is as follows’. I hope this help’s you as it has helped me.
Hi, Randy. I came across your blog titled "Certified Organic? Sure! I think?" and hoped I could clarify some aspects of the organic standards. It seems you cited the proposed rule and public comments received during rulemaking, a necessary component of the rulemaking process before issuing a final rule (this helps to ensure that the public can have a chance to provide their insight and play a participatory role). In February 2010, the USDA’s National Organic Program published a final rule addressing organic livestock production and related provisions to ensure that livestock production regulations are clear and specific about feed requirements and living conditions and that they establish a pasture practice standard for ruminant animals. The final rule also address consumer expectations that ruminant livestock animals graze on pastures during the grazing season.
While there are lots of resources on the NOP website concerning the pasture rule, I can generally state that producers have to provide year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, recognize pasture as a crop, establish a functioning management plan for pasture, provide ruminants with pasture throughout the grazing season for their geographical location, and ensure ruminants derive not less than an average of 30 percent of their dry matter intake (DMI) requirement from pasture grazed over the course of the grazing season. To address one aspect of your article specifically concerning access to the outdoors, you are correct that continual total confinement of any animal indoors is prohibited. However, the regulations account for instances when temporary confinement or shelter may be necessary (e.g., animal’s stage of life, inclement weather). This specific portion of the regulations is available here.
If you have any further questions about the organic standards, please let me know. Meanwhile, if you’re able to print a corrected version of the article, we’d really appreciate it. Despite whether farmers choose to produce their livestock organically, we think it’s important that information reflecting the organic standards are correct.
Department of Agriculture
Agricultural Marketing Service
Public Affairs Office
Again thank you very much Soo for the updated information and your professional willingness to correct my misinformation. It is always my intent to correctly inform our readers with existing and new rules that govern their way of farming/ranching.