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Policy Issues > Further Postponement of Organic Poultry and Livestock Rule

2 Jun 2017

Further Postponement of Organic Poultry and Livestock RuleIn January 2017 the USDA NOP announced a new Organic Poultry and Livestock rule, clarifying the intent of the Organic Foods Production Act with respect to the treatment of livestock and poultry on organic farms. 

This rule comes at the end of more than fifteen years of recommendations from NOSB concerning the treatment of livestock, and particularly what constitutes meaningful outdoor access for poultry.  A summary of the history of this issue is part of the proposed rule and may be seen at https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2016-08023/p-61.  The final rule, adopted on January 19, 2017 and now in postponement, is the first rule to provide a clear statement of what is meant by "organic  poultry and livestock"


The rule was scheduled to take effect on March 19th, but the effective date was postponed until May 19th, in what we were told is a fairly common practice when a new admniistration takes over in Washington.  However, before the May 19th date was reached, the rule was again postponed, until November 14th.  There is reason now to think that the rule may be cancelled altogether. 

The USDA is accepting public comment through Friday, June 9th.  The public is asked to weigh in on which course of action the USDA should take with regard to the rule:

  1. Let the rule become effective. This means that the rule would become effective on November 14, 2017. 
  2. Suspend the rule indefinitely. During the suspension, USDA could consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the final rule. 
  3. Delay the effective date of the rule further, beyond the effective date of November 14, 2017.
  4. Withdraw the rule so that USDA would not pursue implementation of the rule.

Please go to https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=AMS-NOP-17-0031 and click on "Comment Now" to let the USDA know your opinion on this issue.