I have a small dairy herd, milking about 30 cows. It is a pasture system and I don’t raise any row crops. Do I have to get my pastures certified in order to sell organic milk?
Yes, your pastures must be certified. The pastures, and how they are managed, must be described in your Organic System Plan, which you submit to your certification agency. You need maps showing all of the pastures. The maps can be aerial photos, surveyor maps, plat maps, hand drawn, or computer generated. You also need to submit a field history showing all inputs and crops grown. For pastures, this should be relatively simple. You also need to assess your pastures to determine if any adjoining land uses pose contamination risks. If there is a risk of contamination, you need to establish buffer zones so that your animals don’t graze next to land where prohibited materials are applied. The pastures must be managed to protect soil and water resources and to provide edible forage. They also need to be inspected annually, along with your herd and the rest of your operation.