USDA Moves Forward with Organic Marketing Rule
January 20, 2017

This week, the USDA Agriculture Marketing Service published its Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule. The rule, initially proposed in April 2016, aims to strengthen rules for Organic Livestock and Poultry by:
  • Clarifying how producers and handlers must treat livestock and poultry to ensure their health and well-being throughout life, including transport and slaughter.
  • Specifying which physical alterations are allowed and prohibited in organic livestock and poultry production.
  • Establishing minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry. The final rule published by the administration significantly mirrors the version initially proposed. The National Pork Producers Council, National Cattlemen's Beef Association and National Chicken Council all submitted comments requesting the rule be significantly revised or withdrawn. While the American Sheep Industry shares the concerns of others in the livestock and poultry sectors that mandating production practices through a USDA program sets a bad precedent, ASI notes the final rule does not conflict with industry practices of castration and tail docking, which are critical to proper sheep health and welfare.