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USDA publishes Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards final rule

The USDA has published new standards for organic livestock and poultry production to protect the integrity of the USDA organic seal and maintain consumer confidence in organic production.  

“We shout from the rooftops how grateful we are for the publication of this rule.”

National Organic Standards Board Chairman and Montana farmer Nate Powell-Palm says the rule has been 20 years in the making and is well received by farmers, consumers, and certifiers. 

“It provides excellent consistency so that everyone knows that all producers raising organic livestock are doing it in the same exceptionally high-quality environment.”

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the rule focuses on six key areas including outdoor space requirements, living conditions, poultry stocking densities, preventative healthcare, physical altercations and transport, handling and slaughter.

“It establishes minimum outdoor space requirements and ready access to outdoors for livestock and poultry, and requires for poultry that outdoor areas be least 75% soil and vegetation.”

The standards will take effect 60 days after the rule is published in the federal register and producers will have anywhere from 1 to 5 years to implement certain practices that adhere to the new standards.

Vilsack says more than 40,000 written comments were considered when finalizing the rule and calls it the most significant update to organic regulations in over 30 years.

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