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Livestock Certification

The Certified Naturally Grown Livestock Standards are based on the National Organic Program standards with a few significant modifications, as noted below. 

We clarified and strengthened the standards for living conditions and access to pasture. The organic rules were worded in such a way that agribusiness growers got away with their animals never actually going outside. If your animals are primarily pasture raised, then we’d love to hear from you. 

Another difference is in feed requirements.  The feed must be grown according to CNG standards – without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides or GMO seeds – but it does not have to be certified. When you can find a local source that’s growing according to these standards and will affirm their practices in a signed declaration, we think you should have the option to use that local source. 

Frequently Asked Questions – Livestock

Yes, just be clear on your application about which animals you’re wanting to get certified, and which will be excluded from certification. You will need to submit a feed declaration for each type of livestock for which you seek certification, and for each of your feed suppliers.

It is not sufficient for the feed to be non-GMO. That’s important, but the feed ALSO must be grown without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. If your feed is marketed as non-GMO, but not certified organic, then it very likely is grown with synthetic inputs.

If your feed is certified organic, then it meets CNG standards. If your livestock are pasture-raised and don’t receive supplemental feed then you’re probably good to go, so long as you don’t add synthetic fertilizers to your own fields! If you buy from a local supplier, we recommend you show them the CNG Feed Declaration (required of all CNG livestock producers) and see if they can affirm those requirements are met. If you are having difficulty locating feed that meets CNG standards, you might get some leads from this preliminary list of feed suppliers.

Most conventional veterinary medicines are not allowed under CNG standards (vaccines are an important exception). When necessary to prevent animal suffering and death, CNG requires producers to use the most effective veterinary treatment available –whether synthetic or natural. Preserving certification status is not an acceptable reason to withhold needed medical treatment. However, if synthetic treatments are used, the animal cannot be marketed as CNG and should be removed from the flock or herd.

All animals must have access to the outdoors, as well as shade, shelter, fresh air, and direct sunlight, except in cases of inclement weather. In particular, ruminants should spend most of their time on pasture for 120 days or more during the growing season.

Poultry must have at least 5 square feet per bird of free-roaming space outdoors, or 2 square feet per bird if poultry is penned and is moved to fresh pasture each day. When kept indoors overnight or during extreme weather, they should have at least 1.75 square feet per bird.

In order to determine if an input is allowed for use in your CNG operation, go through the following steps.

  1. Is the product OMRI-listed?
    • If yes, you’re good to go! (Note that we do not allow rotenone or synthetic hydroponic fertilizer solutions, even though they are OMRI-listed).
    • If no, move onto the next step.
  2. Obtain the ingredient list and check that each ingredient is OMRI-listed and/or on the CNG Allowed & Prohibited Substances list. 
  3. .If each ingredient is listed, you’re all good!
    • If one or more of the ingredients is not listed or on the prohibited list the product is not allowed.

You can always reach out to the CNG certification specialist if you need help:

CNG requires that growers have one year of experience producing and selling their products before applying for certification. We look for practices to be tried and tested to ensure that growing methods are successful and sustainable. Let us know that you’re interested in certification; we’d love to help support you in your first year of production! Email

No application period is required for non-edible crops like cut flowers, hay, and cover crop.

Yes! We absolutely encourage CNG farmers and ranchers to use vaccines as part of their disease management plan. Since most conventional veterinary medications are not allowed, having a robust strategy for managing herd and flock health is key.

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