On October 1, 2019 USDA reopened the Origin of Livestock proposed rule for additional comments. The proposed rule was closed by USDA in 2015 without notice but was reopened for a new 60-day comment period. Comments can be submitted until December 2 to Regulations.gov using docket number AMS-NOP-11-0009-1572.
CCOF highly encourages members to submit comments on the proposed rule. It is important that both dairies that came under certification before and after the initial 2015 proposed rule submit comments. USDA notes that commenters who submitted comments in 2015 need not to resubmit comment. However, commenters should comment supporting their previous comments, provide new comments, or update their previous comments.
The proposed rule clarifies and amends the requirements for how dairy producers can obtain organic certification for their herds. The proposed rule specifies that a producer can transition dairy animals into organic production once, and that any new dairy animals added to an organic dairy farm would need to be managed organically from the last third of gestation or animals from organic dairy farms that have already completed their transition.
Late last year CCOF members signed a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and National Organic Program leadership urging them to publish a final rule on Origin of Livestock. CCOF also sent a letter to California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris about supporting organic agriculture in the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill by funding organic programs to their authorized levels and by supporting bill language requiring USDA to issue a final rule on Origin of Livestock.
Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed a budget bill that included a requirement for USDA to issue a final rule. That language matched the recent Senate Ag Committee’s Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2020.
CCOF applauds our members and partner organizations who have continued to work on Origin of Livestock. After the proposed rule comment period will close, USDA will need to issue a final rule to update the national organic standards with the amended language.
For questions on how the Origin of Livestock proposed rule could affect your certification, contact your Certification Service Specialist. For questions regarding submitting comments to the proposed rule, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.