The U.S. Department of Agriculture Tuesday published the Origin of Livestock final rule for organic dairy.
The USDA says the change to the USDA organic regulations will promote a fairer and more competitive market for all organic dairy producers. The rule ensures that certified USDA organic dairy products are produced to the same consistent standard.
“The Origin of Livestock final rule provides clear and uniform standards about how and when livestock may be transitioned to organic dairy production, and how transitioned animals are managed within the organic dairy system,” says U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
USDA’s National Organic Program will oversee the new rule, which in general allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time.
The rule prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Small businesses may request variances for specific scenarios.