Chapter 11

Integrated Pest Management on Organic Farms

National Organic Program Standards for IPM

The National Organic Program (NOP) final rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000) states certified organic growers must use a wide range of integrated pest management (IPM) practices to prevent crop pests, weeds, and diseases. Section § 205.206 of the NOP rule outlines the pest management practice standard. As stated in the rule, pest problems may be controlled through mechanical or physical methods. Only when these practices are insufficient to prevent or control crop pests may an organic farm manager apply either (1) a biological or botanical material not on the National List of non-synthetic substances prohibited for use in organic crop production (§ 205.602), or (2) a substance included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production (§ 205.601(e)–(f), to prevent, suppress, or control pests. However, the conditions for using the substance must be anticipated and documented in the organic system plan.

National Organic Program Requirements for Pest Control

Section 205.206 of the USDA’s regulations for organic production and handling outlines the requirements for crop pest, weed, and disease control for certified organic production. Part (a) lets producers know that management practices MUST be used to control pests and disease, to include sanitation, crop rotation, and site-specific cultural practices. Parts (b), (c), and (d) give specific mechanical and physical methods that MAY be used for the control of pests, weeds, and disease problems, respectively. It is not until part (e) where the regulations allow for the use of compliant materials / “materials consistent with the national list” to control pest, weed, and disease problems. A producer’s “organic farm plan” must outline the methods to be used for pest, weed, and disease control, and must also contain a listing of any and all materials to be used for organic production. The following is an excerpt from the NOP Final Rule regarding pest management standards:

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