Promotes animal welfare while supporting a more competitive organic market and consumer transparency
The United States Department of Agriculture announced in a release that agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack previewed the Organic Livestock and Poultry Standards (OLPS) final rule. This rule creates clear, strong, and consistent standards for organic livestock and poultry production, evens the playing field for organic livestock farmers, ranchers, and businesses while also supporting fairer, more competitive markets for their products and offering consumers more transparency surrounding their purchases.1
"USDA is creating a fairer, more competitive and transparent food system. This organic poultry and livestock standard establishes clear and strong standards that will increase the consistency of animal welfare practices in organic production and in how these practices are enforced," expressed Vilsack, in the release.1 "Competitive markets help deliver greater value to all producers, regardless of size."
The update was made in response to strong interest from consumers and the organic industry. According to the release,1 USDA received over 40,000 written comments from the public, all of which were carefully looked over to inform drafting of this final rule. USDA hosted a virtual listening session in August 2022 to hear public comments on the proposed rule.1,2
The final rule describes more consistent standards for 6 main areas regarding animal welfare, including1:
In tandem with USDA-accredited certifiers, USDA’s National Organic Program will oversee the implementation of and enforce compliance with these standards.1
The implementation of OLPS will offer organic livestock and poultry farmers, ranchers and businesses, including those interested in transitioning to organic, more opportunities for fair competition. It also is better in line with consumers’ expectations of animal welfare and organic standards for products with a USDA seal.
This ultimately will help to create greater value for the producers as consumers are willing to pay a premium for organic livestock products.1 Thus, promoting an all-around fairer, more competitive, and transparent food system.
In March this year, the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) previewed the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule.3 According to the release,1 this final rule is the “biggest update to the organic regulations since the original Act in 1990, providing a significant increase in oversight and enforcement authority to reinforce the trust of consumers, farmers and those transitioning to organic production.”
The final rule will be published in the Federal Register. A preview of the rule is on the AMS website.2