Natural / Organic Beef

Asked May 23, 2013, 12:17 PM EDT

If I rase Natural or Organic Beef what kind of buffer zone do I need between my hay field that i feed my cattle or pasture where i keep them , and my neighbors apple orchard / Cherry orchard that he sprays with pesticides and herbicides, also is it the same buffer zone along side a corn field that sprays pesticides and herbicides ?

Benzie County Michigan

1 Response

First of all the rules for Natural and organic are not the same. Natural does not have a USDA standard so it important that you use the buffer distance that your buyer demands. For organic you need to comply with what your certifier demands so you need to communicate with them. There is the USDA NOP standard which is in section 205.202 as follows:

§ 205.202 Land requirements.

Any field or farm parcel from which harvested crops are intended to be sold, labeled, or represented as “organic,” must:(a) Have been managed in accordance with the provisions of §§ 205.203 through 205.206;(b) Have had no prohibited substances, as listed in § 205.105, applied to it for a period of 3 years immediately preceding harvest of the crop; and(c) Have distinct, defined boundaries and buffer zones such as runoff diversions to prevent the unintended application of a prohibited substance to the crop or contact with a prohibited substance applied to adjoining land that is not under organic management.

There is not a defined distance listed here. A standard that is used commonly by certifiers is 25 feet. The key is to visit with your organic certifier and get preapproval. The orchard sounds like it could be a higher risk of drift so a wider buffer may be required. Again you need to ask and get approval from your organic certifier.