AMS formally delays organic livestock, poultry rule
February 8, 2017
The Agriculture Department's Agricultural Marketing Service on Feb. 8 delayed the implementation of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule by 60 days, to May 19. AMS noted in an email from its Organic Insider news service that "these actions are being taken in accordance with guidance issued Jan. 20, 2017, to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review the rules. This is similar to procedures issued by previous administrations."
The Federal Register notice is scheduled to be published Feb. 9.
The Organic Trade Association acknowledged that "it is not unusual for incoming administrations to push the pause button to enable a review," but urged USDA "to avoid further delays and to allow this new effective date to stand as published."
"This final rule has received strong support throughout the organic chain, from organic producers to the organic consumer," OTA said in the release. "The vast majority of organic livestock and poultry operations, including egg producers both large and small, and most major organic brands fully support these organic standards and view them as essential. Consumers trust that the organic seal represents a meaningful differentiation from other agricultural practices, and fully support these standards."
OTA continued, "The rule has been fully vetted and has undergone the public comment process and scrutiny of federal budget watchdogs. The rule reflects more than a decade of public engagement and input through the organic industry's deliberative standard-setting process that has now spanned five administrations of both parties."
Conventional agriculture groups and large organic egg producers have urged the Trump administration not to move forward with the rule on the grounds that a provision requiring chickens to have access to outdoor space may expose them to disease.
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AMS noted that it has changed the delivery service for Organic Insider and invited recipients to customize its delivery.