USDA invites comments on new organic livestock regulations

Photo: Laura Rance

By John Morriss
OrganicBiz staff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has invited comments on proposed changes to organic livestock and poultry production requirements.

In a release, the USDA said the changes are intended to maintain confidence in organically labelled products, and are based on recommendations by the National Organic Standards Board and years of public comments and suggestions by stakeholders.

“The demand for organic agriculture continues to grow each year and these proposed changes will build on USDA’s efforts to support organic producers,” AMS administrator Elanor Starmer said in the release.

This proposal sets clear standards for organic animals. – Elanor Starmer, AMS administrator

“By strengthening standards for organic livestock and poultry, we are ensuring that we meet consumer expectations and maintain the integrity of the organic seal to support the sector’s continued growth. This proposal sets clear standards for organic animals, providing clarity to organic operations and certifying agents, and establishing a level playing field for all producers.”

Major provisions of the proposals include:

  • 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 proposals can be viewed at the USDA website.