Livestock handling and processing
#Purchasing organic livestock
Am I able to purchase livestock at an uncertified auction yard?
No. Organic animals are required to be sold at certified organic auction yards. The USDA National Organic Program considers livestock to be unpackaged products, and therefore all handling and sales of live animals require organic certification. Contact us for more information if you want to purchase organic animals from an on-farm or video auction.
How do I verify the auction yard is certified?
If you plan to purchase organic livestock through an auction, you’ll need to obtain a copy of the auction yard’s organic certificate prior to making your bid(s).
What happens if I buy/sell livestock at an uncertified auction yard?
Organic animals delivered to uncertified auction yards immediately lose their organic status. They may not be sold as organic, although they may still be sold as non-organic. These animals are not eligible for conversion back into organic production.
Review our recordkeeping for livestock operators to learn more about what documentation is needed for purchase records.
#Livestock transport operators
Do livestock transporters require certification?
No. Livestock transporters that move animals from one certified farm or facility to another are not required to hold organic certification. Transporters are eligible for organic certification.
What do I need to know about using an uncertified livestock transporter?
If using uncertified transporters, organic animals must be (a) moved without unloading at uncertified facilities, and (b) must not be combined with loads of animals from multiple operations.
As an OTCO-certified livestock producer, we’ll ask you to provide information regarding your plan for livestock transportation as part of your Organic System Plan, including:
- How animals are transported
- How animals are identified as organic
- At what point ownership of the animals changes
- How the transporter is prepared to handle animal welfare during transport
Do I need to use a certified organic slaughter facility?
Yes. All operations, including slaughter facilities, that produce and handle livestock to be sold as organic must be certified. It’s important to plan for accessing a certified organic facility if choosing to raise organic livestock.
What happens if I use a non-certified slaughter facility?
Any certified organic animal processed at a non-certified facility immediately loses its organic status. It may not be sold as organic. However, it can still be sold as non-organic product.
Livestock can be sold “on the hoof,” meaning that a buyer takes ownership of the live animal or portion of the live animal prior to slaughter.