DEAR NEW FARM:
We are certifying our dairy farm, and I would like to know if I
can lease land that will immediately qualify and feed the hay that
was baled last year. It was produced organically but the farm was
not certified at the time. I would be certifying the land the feed
came off for the 2004 crop season and leaving it in the same grass
hay that was grown in 2003.
We put your question to our organic policy specialist, Jim Riddle.
He now holds the endowed chair in agricultural systems at the University
of Minnesota and is a longtime advocate of sustainable agriculture.
Here’s what Jim had to say:
“According to NOP 205.236(a)(2)(i), hay grown on organically
managed land where no prohibited substances have been applied
for more than three years and is included in the organic system
plan for 2004 certification can be used as part of the 80-percent
feed ration during the first nine months when an entire, distinct
dairy herd is being converted to organic production. During the
final three months of conversion, the herd must be fed 100-percent
certified organic feed.”