Finalize Origin of Livestock Rule Now

November 26, 2019


PCC submitted comments encouraging the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to implement the languishing Origin of Livestock rule, which would clarify requirements for how an organic cow becomes and stays organic.

Proposed in 2015, the Origin of Livestock rule would mend a loophole that allows some large dairies to lower their production costs through continuous transitioning of conventional cows into production. Because raising an organic calf costs more, skipping that step makes it cheaper to produce organic milk and puts farmers who are doing right at a disadvantage. For a full background on the Origin of Livestock rule, see our Sound Consumer article, “Organic Dairy Rules Need Repair Now.”

In response to the 2015 proposed rule, the USDA received over 1,500 comments with significant support to finalize the rule. Despite such unanimous support, the rule sat idle and organic dairy farmers and other producers in the supply chain suffered irreparable damages during the four-year delay. After public outcry from farmers and the organic community at the Seattle 2019 National Organic Standards Board meeting, the USDA has reopened the proposed rule for comment. PCC has taken this opportunity to submit new comments letting the USDA know that:

  • PCC strongly supports the proposed Origin of Livestock rule without any additional amendments.
  • Any additional delay in finalizing the proposed Origin of Livestock rule will cause significant economic damage to organic dairy producers.
  • The Origin of Livestock rule needs immediate finalization and implementation.

As part of our policy engagement with the National Organic Coalition (NOC), PCC supported NOC’s decision to sign onto the Organic Farmers Association (OFA) letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue encouraging finalization of the Origin of Livestock rule, which can be reviewed here.

Read PCC’s full comments here.

Related reading

Oral testimony for a transitional organic label

Oral comments urging USDA to develop a transitional program to encourage growth in organic acreage and supply

Support for USDA Relief Aid to BIPOC Farmers

PCC signed on to a letter from the Rural Coalition/Coalición Rural opposing a court restraining order that prevents the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) from providing financial assistance to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) farmers.

PCC comments for organic integrity

Comments on use of fracking waste "produced" water in organic crop systems; celery powder; potassium phosphate; sodium phosphate; magnesium carbonate; NOP NOSB relations.