The NOP publishes the Guidance!
Click here to read the final NOP 5020 Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance.
The NOP explained its thinking about the final Guidance by also publishing its Responses to Comments regarding the draft Guidance. One of the most important sections states: "Several commenters pointed out that this guidance needs to be very clear about NOP’s expectations for producers to implement conservation practices above those that are required by the other sections of the standards, notably §205.203(b), requiring crop rotations, cover crops, and the application of plant and animal materials, and §205.203(c), requiring producers to maintain or improve soil organic matter content without causing contamination of crops, soil or water. Some comments suggested the guidance should clarify that in order to maintain or improve all the natural resources as defined under §205.2, including soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife, and conserve biodiversity, a comprehensive approach to natural resource management is necessary and goes beyond maintaining soil or water quality. In response, we updated this section of the guidance to include reference to § 205.2, the definition of Natural Resources of the Operation. Certified operations are required to implement measures that support natural resource conservation and biodiversity in addition to maintaining soil or water quality."
WFA publishes How to Conserve Biodiversity on the Farm: Actions to Take on a Continuum from Simple to Complex, a publication for all farmers and for certifiers.
WFA publishes the second edition of Biodiversity Conservation: An Organic Farmer’s and Certifier’s Guide.
The NOP also updated their Organic System Plan for crops, with NCAT's help, to be streamlined. See pages 4-5 for the Natural Resources of the Operation and Biodiversity Conservation Management section. Read the new plan here: NOP Streamlined OSP for Crop Production.