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USDA Publishes Origin of Livestock Final Rule for Organic Dairy

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture has published its Origin of Livestock final rule for organic dairy. 

The Origin of Livestock final rule revises the USDA’s organic regulations to clarify the one-time transition of dairy animals to organic production. According to the USDA, this change to the organic regulations will promote a fairer and more competitive market for all organic dairy producers, by making sure that certified USDA organic dairy products are produced to the same standard on a consistent basic.

“This action demonstrates the USDA’s strong commitment to America’s organic dairy farmers,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The Origin of Livestock final rule provides clear and uniform standards about how and when livestock may be transitioned to organic dairy production, and how transitioned animals are managed within the organic dairy system. Now, all organic dairy livestock producers will have the confidence and certainty they are operating in a fair and competitive market.”

“Consumers of dairy that carry the USDA Certified Organic Seal can trust that those products meet their expectations for how organic dairy products are produced,” said Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs Jenny Lester Moffitt. “At the same time, the rule announced today also ensures new organic producers have a fair way to enter the market.”

USDA’s National Organic Program will oversee the new rule, which in general:

  • Allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time.
  • Prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Variances may be requested by small businesses for specific scenarios.

Once the official version of the final rule is published in the Federal Register, it will be available on the Federal Register website.

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