Mary E. Barbercheck, Penn State University
The National Organic Program (NOP) final rule (United States Department of Agriculture [USDA], 2000) defines organic production as a production system that is managed in accordance with the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and regulations to respond to site-specific conditions by integrating cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and preserve biodiversity. Certified organic growers use a wide range of IPM practices that comply with the NOP standards.
Section §205.206 of the NOP rule outlines the pest management practice standard. The rule states that a producer must use management practices to prevent crop pests, weeds, and diseases including but not limited to:
- Crop rotation and soil and crop nutrient management practices (§205.203 and §205.205)
- Sanitation measures to remove disease vectors, weed seeds, and habitat for pest organisms
- Cultural practices that enhance crop health, including selection of plant species and varieties with regard to suitability to site-specific conditions and resistance to prevalent pests, weeds, and diseases
As stated in the rule, pest problems may be controlled through mechanical or physical methods including but not limited to:
- Augmentation or introduction of predators or parasites of the pest species
- Development of habitat for natural enemies of pests
- Non-synthetic controls such as lures, traps, and repellents
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 nonsynthetic 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.
References and Citations
- United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?SID=a6a0935ddf00e166695f4c2138bd58d8&mc=true&node=pt7.3.205&rgn=div5) (verified 11 March 2010).