USDA announced earlier this week it is scrapping the misguided Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule, which went well beyond the original intent of the Organic Production Act by allowing for animal welfare standards and metrics to become part of the organic label, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
The rule was originally to be finalized on Nov. 14, 2017, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue last fall announced a 180-day extension, making May 14, 2018, the new implementation date. Perdue ultimately heeded the request of organic livestock and poultry farmers and the organizations that represent them, including Farm Bureau, to abandon the rule altogether.
“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,” American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said in a statement.
Duvall also warned that the regulation would have jeopardized organic farmers’ and ranchers’ livelihoods.
“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,” he said.