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USDA Grants Temporary Variance From Pasture Requirements in Marin County and Sonoma County

by Val Davis |

In response to severe winter storms and resulting flooding and storm-related damage in early 2023, the USDA approved a temporary variance pertaining to the livestock pasture standards. 

The variance applies to organic ruminant livestock producers located in Marin and Sonoma counties, California. The USDA organic regulations require producers to graze their livestock for the entirety of the grazing season, which must be at least 120 days, and require all classes of ruminant livestock to receive at least 30 percent dry matter intake from pasture during the grazing season. The approved temporary variance still requires producers to graze their livestock for the entirety of their grazing season but reduces the minimums to 80 days of grazing and 25 percent dry matter intake from pasture.

The temporary variance applies only to the 2023 grazing season and does not allow producers to give their animals non-organic feed. 

For more information on how the temporary variance affects your operation, contact CCOF Farm Certification Technical Specialist Val Davis at or (831) 346-6284.

For further resources pertaining to natural disaster assistance, please visit CCOF’s list of available resources.