Pasture for Organic Ruminant Livestock: Understanding and Implementing the National Organic Program (NOP) Pasture Rule

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By Lee Rinehart and Ann Baier

Published: May 2011

Updated: May 2011



32 pages


This publication offers a summary of several key provisions within the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations as they pertain to pasture management, access to pasture, feed, and grazing intake by ruminant livestock —- collectively, referred to as the "Pasture Rule." It also assists producers in implementing the provisions of the rule. Tools for calculating dry matter intake (DMI) and conducting grazing management are included.

Table of Contents

National Scope of Organic Ruminant Livestock Operations
Organic System Plan (OSP) and Recordkeeping Requirements
Recordkeeping Resources for Organic Livestock Producers
The Pasture Management Plan
Assessing Pasture Condition
Calculating Forage Dry Matter
Availability and Determining
Carrying Capacity
Irrigated and Improved Pasture in Temperate Regions
Native Rangeland
NOP Regulations for Organic Ruminant Livestock; Calculating Dry Matter Demand (DMD) and Dry Matter Intake (DMI)
Dry Matter Demand
Dry Matter Intake
Dry Matter Content of Feeds
Simple Hand Method to Estimate Dry Matter Intake (DMI) on Pasture
Calculating DMI with Downloadable Online Spreadsheets
Calculating Dry Matter Intake on Rangeland
Appendix 1: Dry Matter Intake (DMI) Calculation Worksheets A and B
Appendix 2: Grazing Days/Season Record
Appendix 3: USDA NOP
Regulations Pertaining to
Ruminant Feed and Pasture

Note: Digital downloads are in full color. Printed, mailed copies are only available in black & white.


This page was last updated on: May 7, 2019