Washington, D.C.—The Organic Trade Association (OTA) on Monday urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture to “move expeditiously” to implement a final rule to clarify the Origin of Livestock rule, according to a press release, saying that “clarification is long overdue and is critical to leveling the playing field among organic dairy producers.”

The proposed Origin of Livestock Rule specifies that organic dairy animals must be raised organically from the last third of gestation or be raised organically for one year if transitioning a conventional herd to organic, and that this transition is only allowed once. Following the transition, all animals must be raised organically from the last third of gestation.

The proposed rule was originally published in 2015, and the National Organic Program reopened the public comment period from October 1, 2019, to December 2, 2019. Over 600 new comments were submitted during this comment period, nearly all in support of the rule, reinforcing the more than 1,500 comments already submitted during the 2015 comment period.
Related: Organic Farmers Ask Congress to Enforce, Aid Organic Beyond Pesticides Forms OrganicEye to Defend Organic Organic Farming is Worse for Climate Change? Not So, Says The Organic Center
In its official comments in the public comment period, OTA said: “The Organic Trade Association continues to support the Origin of Livestock proposed rule, and urges USDA to move expeditiously to a final rule to clarify and narrow the allowance to transition dairy animals Into organic milk production as a one-time event.” OTA submitted these comments on top of the ones they submitted in 2015 to “reflect new information regarding the continued need for consistent enforcement of organic dairy standards. Conditions that prompted rulemaking on origin of livestock have not changed. New information since 2015 only reaffirms the need for rulemaking to clarify and strengthen regulations on origin of livestock.”

Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of OTA, said in the release: “The organic industry has been asking for this critical clarification since 2010. There should be no doubt that the industry has reached consensus on this policy.”