Update on Court Ruling Against USDA Compost Guidance

On June 20, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) did not properly issue guidance on the allowance of green waste in compost used for organic production. USDA has 60 days to appeal the decision.

The ruling is the outcome of a federal lawsuit filed against USDA that challenges the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) guidance on the allowance of green waste in organic production systems. The Court held that USDA did not properly issue the guidance because it did not provide for public notice and comment.

The Organic Trade Association, Western Growers Association, and CCOF filed an amicus brief asking the Court to not vacate the existing guidance if the Court found that USDA did not properly issue the guidance. Although these organizations did not weigh in on the issue of whether USDA should have provided notice and comment, they did weigh in on the potential impacts of vacating the guidance before USDA completes additional work or issues a rule on the allowance of green waste in compost.

For more information, contact CCOF Policy Director Kelly Damewood at kdamewood@ccof.org.

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