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A Long-Awaited Moment: Organic Animal Welfare Rules Announced

by Laetitia Benador. Jane Sooby. and Renee Delaney |

Photo of chicken during visit to Ancient Nutrition Regeneration in Action Field Day, April 2023

After more than 20 years of dedicated advocacy from the organic community, USDA has finally published a draft of the new Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) rule.  

Undersecretary of Agriculture Jenny Lester Moffitt made a surprise announcement during the National Organic Standards Board meeting that USDA has released an advance version of the rule. The final, official version of the rule has yet to be published in the Federal Register. 

The rule establishes stronger and clearer animal welfare standards for certified organic operations through dozens of requirements ranging from livestock husbandry and housing to transportation and slaughter. Importantly, it provides the clarity required for organic certifiers to enforce regulations consistently across all certified organic operations. 

The rule will provide consumers with certainty that all organic livestock products comply with strong animal welfare regulations. It will also benefit organic producers by providing a level playing field and reducing the need for additional third-party animal welfare certifications. 

Organic operations will have one year to comply with most new requirements, but there is a longer implementation period for indoor and outdoor space requirements for broiler and layer operations. The implementation period will begin once the final rule is published. Additional information is available in this fact sheet

This is a day of celebration for the organic movement! For the past two decades, organic producers have held countless meetings across the country to participate in a democratic process with the goal of ensuring organic animal welfare standards are strong and consistently enforced. With farmers in the lead and continual improvement at the heart of the organic standards, CCOF is inspired by what our community can accomplish! 

CCOF is carefully reviewing the new regulations and will provide more information to applicable operations soon. I

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Kelly Korman, Livestock Certification Supervisor, at or (831) 346-6316.