Clements: The Department of Agriculture announced this week it would withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule. The move, applauded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, means organic livestock producers will not be subject to more regulation. AFBF Public Policy Executive Director Dale Moore says that if implemented, the rule would have been very costly for organic farmers and ranchers who raise cows, chickens and other livestock.
Moore: We felt it went way beyond the intent, certainly the law that was laid back in 1990 as part of the farm bill. Had the rule gone into effect, we believe it would have forced a number of organic farmers and ranchers to just basically change their production practices and it likely would have forced many of them either out of the organic sector, if not out of business.
Clements: Not only did the rule go beyond Congress’ intent, but organic livestock farmers and ranchers are already following an adequate set of rules.
Moore: Secretary Perdue and Undersecretary Greg Ibach have both made the point that existing, robust, organic livestock regulations are effective. It doesn’t mean that they can’t take a look at some changes, but we strongly believe that the secretary’s action, the undersecretary’s action, kept these rules inside the law.
Clements: Moore says the USDA decision shows a commitment to organic farming.
Moore: We believe that this is also a signal that they're looking at this organic process as being something that they take very seriously and will be working to ensure it’s a label that consumers can count on, and the rules and the process will be transparent so that producers who’ve invested a lot of time, and resources, and certainly their own capital, to make their operations meet these standards, pay off at the end of the day.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.