USDA Withdraws Organic Livestock Rule


Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced on Friday that his agency will withdraw the proposed Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule.

The rule was signed in the waning hours of the Obama administration but there have been several delays since in setting a date for implementation. Last month the rule was delayed until May of 2018. The rule would have expanded existing requirements of livestock care as well as adding provisions for livestock handling and transportation for slaughter.

The Organic Trade Association filed a lawsuit against the USDA in September seeking judicial review over the delay of the effective date of the rule.

The National Farmers Union supported the rule, saying it would improve the consistency and integrity of organic livestock practices. NFU Senior VP of Public Policy, Rod Larew, said “Currently, there’s too much inconsistency in how organic certifiers apply animal welfare standards to farming and ranching operations. This endangers the label’s integrity and confuses consumers.”

The National Pork Producers Council came out in favor of the move. The NPPC released a statement saying the “standards were not based on science and that were outside the scope of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990.”

The NPPC raised several concerns about the regulation including animal and public health concerns. They also said that animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic.” They also cited the complexity the standards would have added to the organic certification process, creating challenges to both existing and new organic producers.

Ken Maschlhoff, NPPC President said “We'd like to thank Sec. Perdue and the Trump administration for listening to our concerns with the rule and recognizing the serious challenges it would have presented our producers.”

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association also stated their disagreement with the regulation. The organization voiced concerns about increased barriers to the organic certification process and increasing costs without providing animal welfare benefits.

In withdrawing the rule, the USDA determined the regulation exceeded the agency's authority and that it would have had a greater economic impact on farmers than originally estimated.

The withdraw notice, which will be published in the Federal Register next week, is subject to a public comment period.

The USDA released a stated in their decision to withdraw the rule that the regulation exceeded their authority  beyond the intent of the Organic Food Production Act and that it would have had a greater economic impact on producers than was originally projected.

The withdraw notice, which will be published in the Federal Register this week, is subject to a public comment period.


Source: NAFB News Serivce, OTA, USDA, Drovers


Photo: NAN

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