Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Organic Livestock rules withdrawn

Farm Bureau Praises Withdrawal of Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule

Washington--The USDA announced this morning that it has withdrawn the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule published in January. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13, 2018.

The USDA said that significant policy and legal issues were identified and caused widespread concerns after the rule published in January 2017. After review of the rule and two rounds of public comment, The USDA determined that the rule exceeded the department’s statutory authority and that the changes in the regulations could have a negative impact on producer participation in the National Organic Program, including significant input costs for producers. 

 American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall called the rules misguided at best:

“The American Farm Bureau supports USDA’s decision to withdraw the misguided Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. Livestock health and well-being is a priority for all farmers and ranchers. We rely on trained professionals, including animal scientists, nutritionists, and veterinarians, to ensure the health and safety of our food. The rule did not promote food safety or animal welfare. It went beyond the intent of the Organic Production Act by allowing for animal welfare standards and metrics to become part of the organic label.

According to USDA reports for 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased domestically by 7% and globally by 11%. Industry estimates show that organic sales in the United States reached almost $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost $3.7 billion since 2015.

USDA carefully considered public comments and the relative costs and benefits for both producers and consumers of imposing the proposed additional regulations.

“Had the rule gone into effect, forcing organic farmers and ranchers to arbitrarily change their production practices, many would have been driven out of the organic sector or out of business entirely, reducing the supply of organic food choices for America’s consumers," said Duvall.

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