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Organic Industry Sues USDA for Stricter Egg Farming Regulations

Organic Industry Sues USDA for Stricter Egg Farming Regulations


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The government is now facing some legal action after the Organic Trade Association (OTA) sued them for failing to enact adequate regulations on the treatment of poultry animals. Current regulations instruct organic egg farmers to provide chickens with year-round access to the outdoors to prevent overcrowding and abuse. However, the allegations in the lawsuit accuse that regulations fail to adequately define what the required “outdoor access” actually entails.

The OTA represents many companies in the organic food industry and is getting more assertive about its activism against chickens getting cooped up. As they are now, the regulations allow a back porch as an acceptable form of access to nature. The porch can be enclosed and covered, so long as the layers have access to fresh air.

This access, however, fails to solve the overcrowding problem that necessitated the regulation in the first place. Farmers can create side-by-side porched buildings and fill them to the brim with live chickens. One company in particular, Herbruck's Poultry Ranch, has been housing their chickens this way.

“It’s kind of like your screened porch on your house,” the president of Herbruck’s, Greg Herbruck, told NPR. “When you go out there, you’re outside. You’re protected from the rain. In this case, we protect [the chickens] from disease and from predators.” What they’re not protected from, however, is chronic overcrowding. Herbruck’s is home to 2.2 million chickens — and growing. “We’ve been double-digit growth for many years,” Herbruck brags.

Many organic eggs in America are produced this way, with the quality of the chickens’ stomping ground varying by company. The Cornucopia Institute, an organic activist group that advocates sustainable “family-scale” farming, scored popular brands on an “egg scorecard,” revealing the quality of brands’ animal care based in part on issues like crowding and outdoor access. The results are varied, and horrifically illustrate how different brands can interpret the same vague regulation in dramatically different ways.

The OTA isn’t assaulting the government out of nowhere — the organic industry has been pushing for change for years. Conversation has been brewing in the government for quite some time regarding the ethics of big organic farmers’ practices, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture developed a proposed revision of regulations under the Obama administration. But industry-friendly forces in Congress — such as the Republican chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Pat Roberts, and the committee’s senior Democrat, Debbie Stabenow, who has received campaign contributions from members of the Herbruck family — opposed the USDA’s proposed changes. The bipartisan resistance led a group of senators in 2016 to call on the USDA to address their concerns before issuing the new regulations.

In May, the Trump administration further postponed implementation of the new regulations for a later date, suggesting that they might be withdrawn entirely, according to The Washington Post.

Facing these attempts at staving off progressive changes in the way organic egg producers treat their animals, the OTA is taking more aggressive and forceful action.

While the results of their efforts have yet to be determined, the lawsuit is certainly calling to light some questionable practices of large egg companies. If you care about the treatment of your poultry, eggs are probably one of those foods you should always buy organic.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Organic Trade Association sues USDA over failure to advance organic livestock standards

Thinkstock

The Organic Trade Association on Wednesday is suing the U.S. Department of Agriculture regarding its failure to put new organic livestock standards into effect.

&ldquoWe are standing up on behalf of the entire organic sector to protect organic integrity, advance animal welfare, and demand the government keep up with the industry and the consumer in setting organic standards,&rdquo Laura Batcha, executive director and CEO of the Organic Trade Association, said in a released statement.

The lawsuit alleges the U.S. Department of Agriculture violated the Organic Foods Production Act and unlawfully delayed the effective date of the final livestock standards that industry developed in accordance with the congressionally established processes. Also, the lawsuit claims that the USDA abused the agency&rsquos discretion because it has ignored the overwhelming public record supporting these organic standards.

The trade association further contends that the Trump administration&rsquos regulatory freeze order&mdashissued to federal agencies on Jan. 20&mdashshould not apply to organic standards because only farms and business that want to be certified organic are required to meet the standards. The Organic Trade Association&rsquos board of directors voted unanimously to initiate the lawsuit.

The Organic Trade Association is asking the court to reverse the agency&rsquos decisions to delay and eliminate options proposed by USDA to further delay, rewrite or permanently shelve the rule&mdashthereby making the final livestock rule effective immediately, as written.

Batcha said the Organic Trade Association is compelled to take legal action against the Trump administration because it has a duty to protect and advance the U.S. organic sector. The Association also must uphold the integrity of the organic seal and to honor the consumer trust in that seal.

&ldquoThe organic industry takes very seriously its contract with the consumer and will not stand aside while the government holds back the meaningful and transparent choice of organic foods that deliver what the consumer wants,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoThe government&rsquos failure to move ahead with this fully vetted regulation calls into question the entire process by which organic regulations are set&mdasha process that Congress created, the industry has worked within, and consumers trust.

&ldquoThe viability of the organic market rests on consumer trust in the USDA Organic seal, and trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices,&rdquo Batcha said.

Other organizations harmed by this protracted government inaction include those representing organic livestock farmers, organic certification agencies, organic retailers and organic consumers.

What the organic livestock standard says

The Organic Foods Production Act, which established the federal regulations overseeing the U.S. organic sector, was passed in 1990, but not implemented until 2002.

The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule, commonly referred to as the Organic Animal Welfare Rule, is the result of 14 years of public and transparent work, and reflects deep engagement and input by organic stakeholders during multiple administrations, both Republican and Democrat.

The rule addresses four broad areas of organic livestock and poultry practices including living conditions, animal healthcare, transport and slaughter. The Organic Livestock and Poultry Production rule represents a refinement and clarification of a series of organic animal welfare recommendations:

  • Establishes minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry.
  • Clarifies how producers and handlers must treat livestock and chickens to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifies which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.

The rule provides more than ample time for producers to become compliant with the new standards, including five years to establish outdoor access requirements for egg operations three years for broiler operations to establish indoor space requirements and one year for all other adjustments.

Thousands of recent comments support implementing the rule on Nov. 14

After extensive public input and a thorough vetting process&mdashincluding reviews, audits and analysis by the National Organic Standards Board, the Agriculture Department&rsquos Office of Inspector General and the National Organic Program&mdashthe National Organic Program released and published the final rule on Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices on Jan. 19.

A White House memorandum, released on Jan. 20 to federal agencies, requested a freeze on rules recently published or pending. Consequently, the effective date of the rule was delayed to May 19.

On May 10, the USDA delayed the effective date an additional six months, to Nov. 14, and opened a 30-day comment period asking for responses to four possible options for the Final Rule:

  • Let the rule become effective on Nov. 14.
  • Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the agriculture department would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the Final Rule.
  • Delay the effective date of the rule beyond Nov. 14.
  • Withdraw the rule.

During the 30-day comment period, more than 47,000 comments were received 99 percent supported the rule becoming effective as written on Nov. 14.

&ldquoProducers are organic because they choose to be. It&rsquos a voluntary system, and the organic sector welcomes clear and fair standards under which to operate,&rdquo Batcha said. &ldquoOrganic regulations apply only to certified organic producers, and those organic producers are overwhelmingly in favor of this new regulation. Most of the criticism of the new organic animal welfare rule has come from outside the sector, and by special interest groups not impacted by the regulation, but which would like to override the will of our members.

&ldquoIt is important to note this issue did not just arise in 2017, rather it is the result of many years of failure of good government,&rdquo Batcha added.

Jesse Laflamme, owner and CEO of organic egg producer Pete and Gerry&rsquos Organics, said, &ldquoThe organic industry has been fighting for this rule for years. Certified organic egg, dairy and animal producers hold their operations to a higher standard of animal welfare than is required, because it is the right thing to do and it is what our customers expect. The organic industry works hard to live up to the expectation of its consumers, and we expect the USDA to live up to its mandate to oversee the industry in a way that is fair and will enable us to continue to prosper.&rdquo

Organic farmer cooperative Organic Valley CEO George Siemon said the government&rsquos failure to implement this rule could jeopardize consumer trust in organic.

&ldquoThe organic consumer and community have worked closely with USDA to help craft this sound regulation, and have followed the established rulemaking process. For the administration to now let political pressure derail that progress is an assault on the trust in the organic process that the organic industry works so hard every day to earn,&rdquo Siemon said.

&ldquoOrganic Valley works with thousands of organic dairy, laying hen, beef, hog and poultry producers, and has long advocated for action to clarify the living conditions and expectations for animal care in organic. Animal living conditions and welfare are a critical part of an organic livestock system. We in organic need to lead on this front, and the consumer&rsquos trust in organic needs to be respected,&rdquo he continued.


Watch the video: πτηνοτροφείο (May 2022).


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