After years of work by Organic stakeholders, the National Organic Standards Board, and the National Organic Program in developing and publishing the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) rule—otherwise known as the “Animal Welfare Rule”— the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is now proposing to withdraw it. The AMS’s proposal, which was published on December 18, 2017, can be read here.
In short, the AMS now believes it does not have the authority under the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA) to implement the OLPP rule and that, even if it did the costs of implementation outweigh the benefits.
CFSA submitted comments in response to the AMS’s proposal to withdraw the rule.
We strongly disagree with the AMS’s interpretation of OFPA. Not only are Organic animal welfare standards authorized by OFPA, they are also important to maintaining consumer trust in the integrity of the Organic label.
Although the AMS’s proposal to withdraw the OLPP rule hasn’t yet been finalized, it’s very unlikely that the AMS will reverse course. Watch this space for more updates once the AMS moves forward.
Want more information on how all of this came to be? CFSA’s policy team has a nifty timeline if you want to see the play-by-play.
Are you interested in learning more about the USDA NOP organic certification process? If so, take a walk on the Road to Organic Certification and watch how Candice Howard successfully certifies her sustainable farm and how Bruce Baxter successfully transitions his farm to certified organic.
Three example scenarios to give you an idea…
1) To certify 10 acres or less for one year in SC with Clemson’s Organic Certification Program (Currently, all certified organic farmers in SC use Clemson.)
New applicant flat fee: $750
After reimbursement, the farmer’s cost is only $187.50.
2) To certify a larger, more complex operation, the cost of initial certification may be more than $1000. Let’s say your certification cost is $1200. The cost share program covers up to $750 of this cost, so after reimbursement, the farmer’s cost is $450.
3) If you gross less than $5k annually from the sale of crops, but decide to get certified despite the $5K/yr exemption (for example, your products are bulked with other organic products), and you are in SC, Clemson will certify your operation at a flat rate of $200/yr. After reimbursement, the farmer’s cost is only $50.
NEW PROGRAM FOR SC FARMERS ONLY
As an extension of our Conservation Activity Plan (CAP) consulting, CFSA staff are available to provide on-farm consulting to farmers about opportunities to take advantage of cost share assistance from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Organic Initiative.
The consultation involves an on-farm visit, a tour of the farm to assess natural resource concerns that can be addressed by NRCS conservation practices and a discussion of how the producer can access cost share funding to implement the identified practices on his or her farm. The farm visit normally takes about two hours and also provides an opportunity for discussion of organic production concerns on the farm. A written report will be made available to the producer outlining recommended conservation practices.
Are you intimidated by the regulations and paperwork necessary for USDA Organic Certification?
CFSA offers consulting services and resources to help farmers transitioning to certified organic.