Oregon Tilth demands USDA finalize Origin of Livestock rule

June 18, 2020

Credibility and transparency are the bedrocks of organic agriculture.

Oregon Tilth continues to advocate for the clarification of the USDA National Organic Program’s Origin of Livestock rule that has been misinterpreted and abused by some dairy farms. Today, we joined the Organic Farmers Association, an advocacy organization sponsored by the Rodale Institute, in a letter asking for its immediate adoption. We request the USDA remove all loopholes and level the playing field for organic dairies everywhere without further delay.

Capital Press interviewed Oregon Tilth Executive Director Chris Schreiner about the USDA’s failure to update the rule:

Certainly here in the Northwest, organic dairy has provided an opportunity for family-scale dairy farms to stay economically viable…This will help level the playing field, and will help dairies here in the Northwest for whom the organic marketplace has been a way to maintain economic viability.

The Origin of Livestock rule was intended to allow dairies switching to organic to transition cows from conventional to organic once, and then raise the animals following organic requirements. Kate Mendenhall, director of the Organic Farmers Association, said some dairies are cycling cows in and out of conventional practices to take advantage of lower costs.

Continued inaction hurts organic farmers and erodes public confidence:

Organic dairy farmers are suffering and continued delays in implementing this rule will prolong the dire economics facing organic dairy farmers, as well as jeopardize consumers’ trust in the organic label. It is past time for the NOP to finalize the rule and provide much-needed clarity requested by the organic community. We urge you to make sure that the NOP complies with Congress’ mandate and finalizes the origin of organic livestock rule as soon as possible.

Organic Farmers Association letter Capital Press article

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Oregon Tilth Main Office
2525 SE 3rd Street
Corvallis, OR 97333
Phone: (503) 378-0690
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