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    Three new studies confirm that exposures to common insecticides during pregnancy can cut a child’s IQ 4% to 7%  by age 9.
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NOP Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation Guidance Compliance Tool

Sep 30, 2016

Photo Credit: USFWS Mountain-Prairie

Organic farmers are focused on building biodiversity on their farms.  To help them achieve this goal, the Organic Center partnered with Dr. Quinn at Furman University to share the Healthy Farm Index (HFI), a farm-scale assessment tool that aids organic farmers in monitoring and managing biodiversity and ecosystem services.  The tool has been widely successful, and has been invited for presentation at multiple national conferences, and shared via webinar trainings, online portals, and social media campaigns.

Shortly after the development of the HFI, the National Organic Program published its Guidance Natural Resources and Biodiversity Conservation, which details provides examples of production practices that support conservation principles and demonstrate compliance with the general natural resources and biodiversity conservation requirement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations.

Photo Credit: Audrey

Unfortunately, the guidances provide are vague, placing the burden of designing and implementing technical plans on the farmer. This task is complicated by the fact that variation in farm size, type, and geographic location all influence the feasibility and effectiveness of biodiversity-friendly farming techniques making a “one-size fits all” conservation recommendation impossible.

To address this, the Organic Center and Dr. Quinn are building on the success of the HFI to provide a farmer-friendly tool with an interactive front-end interface that includes the mandates released by the National Organic Program in order to aid farmers in technical decisions to increase on-farm biodiversity and comply with the new guidance. Farmers will be able to enter specific information associated with their farming operations in order to evaluate numerous conservation techniques to maximize biodiversity and ecosystem services.

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