The USDA’s announcement last week to withdraw a proposed organic rule for livestock and poultry was met with applause from ag.
“With USDA’s wise decision to withdraw this rule, organic livestock and poultry producers can rest assured that they will not be forced out of business by another costly and burdensome regulation,” said U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.
“Having fought this unwanted and unneeded regulation from the beginning, I’m pleased to see the Trump administration listening to my concerns, along with the concerns of organic livestock and poultry producers across the country. Together, we warned USDA of the unintended consequences of this rule, but our concerns fell on deaf ears in the previous administration. The rule was finalized two days before leaving office, despite its serious potential to force organic livestock and poultry producers out of business, increase prices paid by consumers for organic food, and increase animal disease and mortality. By withdrawing this rule, the Trump administration is again demonstrating its commitment to de-regulate rural America.”
The Obama-era regulation — the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule — would have incorporated into the National Organic Program welfare standards that were not based on science and that were outside the scope of the Organic Food Production Act of 1990. The act limited consideration of livestock as organic to feeding and medication practices.
“We’d like to thank Sec. Perdue and the Trump administration for listening to our concerns with the rule and recognizing the serious challenges it would have presented our producers,” said NPPC President Ken Maschhoff, a pork producer from Carlyle, Ill.
NPPC raised a number of problems with the regulation, including animal and public health concerns and the fact that animal production practices have nothing to do with the basic concept of “organic.” NPPC also cited the complexity the standards would have added to the organic certification process, creating significant barriers to existing and new organic producers.
In withdrawing the rule, the U.S. Department of Agriculture determined the regulation exceeded the agency’s authority — something NPPC pointed out in comments on the rule — and that it would have had a greater economic impact on farmers than originally estimated.
The withdraw notice, which will be published in the Federal Register next week, is subject to a public comment period.