The following guidelines are for the purpose of clarification of the OCIA International Certification Standards and Additions to the Standards and the National Organic Program (NOP) Standards. (Approved by the Board of Directors on November 9, 2016)
1. CROP ROTATION
Maximum 50% of the rotation row crop and 50% small grain or fallow with fall cover crop / green manure plow-down. (Example: row crop, small grain or fallow with cover crop.)
Three Crop Rotation
Maximum of 2 successive row crops (i.e. corn & soybeans) is allowed. 1/3 of this rotation must be non-row crop such as small grain or fallow with cover crop / green manure plow-down. Cover crops are highly recommended between row crops.
Maximum of 3 successive row crops in a 4-year period is allowed. Cover crop / green manure plow-down is highly recommended between row crops. Remainder of this rotation must be non-row crop such as small grain or fallow with cover crop / green manure plow-down. [Example: corn-beans-corn-other or beans-corn-beans-other)
More than Four-year Rotation
Maximum of 3 successive row crops in a 5-year period is allowed. Cover crop / green manure plow-down is highly recommended between row crops. Remainder of this rotation must be non-row crop such as small grain or fallow with cover crop / green manure plow-down. [Inter-seeding in corn and beans (row crops) is highly recommended.
This is a restricted practice that requires prior written approval from CIA Intl, except for alfalfa, mixed hay, pasture, buckwheat or rye. Beans on beans or corn on corn are not allowed.
Variations -- The Education Committee may consider variations from these rotation guidelines provided you meet the National Organic Program (NOP) Standard number 205.205. Rotation exceptions may be granted due to uncontrollable circumstances, such as wet fields, late frost, hail, etc. The exception must be requested and received in writing from OCIA Intl. prior to implementation.
Green Manure / Cover Crop
- Recommendation -- The OCIA MN #1 Education Committee does not recommend planting beans on beans or corn on corn. Rotation decisions should be based on the four points as stated in the NOP standards 205.205 – Crop Rotation Practice.
The producer must implement a crop rotation including but not limited to sod, cover crops, green manure crops, and catch crops that provide the following functions that are applicable to the operation:
a. Maintain or improve soil organic matter conten
b. Provide for pest management in annual and perennial crops
c. Manage deficient or excess plant nutrients and
d. Provide erosion control
- It is our understanding that the final planting decision is up to the producer and that the final certification decision is up to OCIA Intl Certification Decision Team (CDT).
(This statement adopted by the committee on April 11, 2006)
This can be a seeding of rye, vetch, clover, or something similar that is inter-seeded before harvest of the current crop or seeded after harvest. The cover crop must become established prior to incorporation.
- National Organic Program (NOP) Final Rule 205.203 Soil Fertility and Crop Nutrient Management Practice: The producer must manage crop nutrients and soil fertility through rotations, cover crops, and the application of plant and animal materials.
You must document parallel production from the seed for planting to the sale of the crop. Visually distinguishable varieties must be utilized to the maximum extent possible. Documentation must include but is not limited to: record of separate harvest, storage, quantity and sale of organic and conventional crop. Management plan must be maintained in Audit Trail and available at time of inspection. (OCIA Intl Certification Standards 2013, Section 2.2.4)
- As of 2004, an Integrity Visit is required when a producer requesting OCIA certification plants fields of organic and non-organic forms of the same crop that are not visually distinguishable.
- Not everyone seeks OCIA certification, and even fewer require an integrity visit. The requirement for an integrity visit is directed by the OCIA Standards. The cost of the integrity visit is the responsibility of the member seeking OCIA certification. This is not a requirement to certify to NOP Standards.
- Conversion Plan
Certification to OCIA Standards requires a conversion plan with the third certification application. This plan must state how you will bring 100% of the land into transition within 5 years of the first certification of any portion of land you own or of whic you have long term operational control. Exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis. (OCIA International Certification Standards 2013, Section 2.1. Admissibility). This is not a requirement to certify to NOP Standards
2.1 All manure sources and management techniques must be clearly documented as part of the certification process, including rates and dates of application. Raw manure is considered a Restricted Material.
- 2.2 Any producer using liquid manure from an on or off farm source needs to supply a signed affidavit from the pit operator stating what, if any, additives have been used. If pit additives are used, you must obtain a label and submit it to the Chapter office. The Chapter will send the request on to OCIA Intl for approval before using liquid manure.
- 2.3 To avoid over application of liquid manure, test for nutrient value to insure proper rates are applied.
- 2.4 Composted and/or stock piled manures of at least three months are allowed. The National Organic Program (NOP) Final Rule #205.203, part c. (1) (ii) & (iii) – Raw animal manure must be composted unless it is incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days (four months) prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles or not less than 90 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles.
- 2.5 It is recommended that soil temperature must be at least 10 degrees C (50 degrees F) or higher when raw manure is applied. OCIA International Standards 2013, Section 2.8.1.d.1, part 1. At application, the soil must be sufficiently warm (about 10 degrees C) and moist to ensure active microbial digestion. Exceptions can be made at the discretion of the Education Committee for animal-powered/ground-driven operations. This is not a requirement to certify to NOP Standards.
NOP Standard 205.203 (c) (Not to be spread on frozen ground.) The producer must manage plant and animal materials to maintain or improve soil organic matter content in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, pathogenic organisms, heavy metals, or residues of prohibited substances.
2.6 Is there a restriction for using manure from conventional livestock being fed conventional (gmo) grain? Most of the commercial manure sources out there (from chicken houses, feedlots, etc.) are from animals eating GMO feed. Although there is currently no NOP restriction, the Chapter’s Education Committee cautions on taking care in using manure from commercial sources. It is required for the supplier to provide an affidavit stating that nothing prohibited has been added to the manure. (This statement approved by the Chapters Education Committee on November 7, 2016)
- 3.1 Conventional sprayer tanks may be used if they are cleaned out with an acceptable cleaner such as chlorine bleach, peroxide, acid cleaners, then rinsed three times. Cleaning and rinse solution must not be dumped on certified ground. The sprayer can then be used for organic. Sprayers cannot be switched back and forth between conventional and organic practices. You must request prior written approval from the Certification Committee before the use of a fiberglass tank.
- 3.2 Must maintain written documentation of cleaning equipment used for both organic and conventional production. (Example: planter, combine, augers, wagons, trucks, tillage equipment, etc.) Documentation must include date, equipment cleaned, method used and by whom. This must be maintained in audit trail.
- 3.3 If 100% organic production, document equipment as used for organic only. This includes all production, including any custom work. It would not include equipment used on buffer strips.
4. FLOOD LANDS
- 4.1 If flooding occurs, we recommend the producer notify the Chapter office. It may be required to harvest this area of the field separately due to the possibility of contamination from conventional run off.
- 5.1 Use of any GMO (genetically modified organism) / GEO (genetically engineered organism) derived products is prohibited. This includes inoculants. Naturally occurring microbes are allowed. GMO seed must not be planted on any land managed by the producer seeking certification through OCIA. This includes conventional, transitional and organic fields. Planting GMO seed will result in denial of certification. The producer must submit to the Chapter office a letter from the seed or inoculants supplier that verifies Non-GMO status for the seed variety or the inoculants product.
- 6.RESTRICTED MATERIAL
- 6.1 Prior to the use of any restricted material, the producer must obtain written approval from OCIA Intl. Submit an ingredient label of the material in question when seeking approval.