Tell USDA: Save Organic Animal Welfare Standards

A year ago, the United States Department of Agriculture passed the Organic Welfare Rule (Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices- OLPP). Organic Farmers Association certified organic farmer members unanimously supported the rule implementation, but the USDA just decided to kill it.

We need you to tell USDA you want them to IMPLEMENT THE RULE IMMEDIATELY. Comments are due WEDNESDAY, January 17.

These new standards preserve the integrity of organic. Organic consumers already believe these standards are included in organic certification and most organic farmers already follow the OLPP rule. All certified farms should be required to follow these standards & maintain a level playing field.

CLICK TO: Submit a comment to USDA now.

Please submit a short comment. Here’s some tips:

  • Introduce yourself: who you are, where you are from, and share some details about your farm, ranch, or business.
  • State that as an organic producer, handler, or consumer you oppose USDA’s action to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule (Docket # AMS-NOP-15-0012; NOP-15-06). Please implement the rule immediately.
  • Tell USDA why organic welfare is important to you & that these standards preserve trust in the organic label. If consumers doubt that high organic means high welfare standards, the organic label and market will suffer.
  • The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule has widespread support from the industry and consumers. It is the result of more than a decade of work on the part of the National Organic Standards Board and organic community.
  • The USDA has received tens of thousands of comments asking for immediate implementation of the rule. During the last comment period, 99 percent of comments asked USDA to implement the rule ASAP.
  • The majority of organic livestock farmers already comply with these rules. Farmers who already adhere to high standards are being undercut because of loopholes that allow a small number of producers to deny meaningful outdoor access to animals.
  • Organic Consumers want OLPP, Organic Farmers want OLPP, please implement it immediately.
  • Your comment can be 2 sentences or it can be pages long. What matters is an individual comment from YOU!

For more information, you can read Organic Farmers Association’s submitted comments to USDA at organicfarmersassociation.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/OFAolppcomments01.11.18.pdf.


Organic Farmers Association Urges Implementation of Animal Welfare Rules

The Organic Farmers Association calls on the USDA to implement the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule (OLPP) without delay. The OLPP or “animal welfare” rule would allow the National Organic Program to consistently enforce stronger animal welfare standards on organic farms and remove loopholes being taken advantage of by some large operations.

The USDA previously delayed implementation of the rule until November 14, 2017 after holding an additional public comment period in June 2017 questioning whether the rule should even be implemented. Last week, the USDA announced they would wait until May 14, 2018 to implement the rule.

“This is the fourth time this year they have delayed implementation and organic farmers cannot wait,” said Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association. “Certified organic farmers strongly support this rule—100% of the certified organic farmers who responded to our fall policy poll support immediate implementation of the rule. To delay again is a disservice to organic farmers.”

The OLPP has been an ongoing discussion within the organic community for the past ten years and included two public comment periods before being finalized. The rule was well vetted and is ready for implementation.

“The final ruling is needed and is supported by organic farmers nationwide,” said Jim Riddle, organic farmer and chair of the Organic Farmers Association steering committee. “It is time for the USDA to implement it to preserve the integrity of the organic seal”.


Meet Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association

“I have been waiting my whole professional life for the Organic Farmers Association! We as organic farmers need a strong voice in DC advocating our positions on organic issues—asking organic farmers what they really need and want and working with existing organic organizations to make it a reality at the federal level. Together we’ll build a stronger organic farmer movement!”

Kate Mendenhall worked with Pesticide Action Network and CUESA at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in San Francisco before traveling to the east to work for NOFA-NY for a decade, the last five years as their Executive Director. Now Kate lives in her hometown in Okoboji, Iowa working with the Iowa Organic Association and starting her own organic mixed livestock farm. Her nationwide experience and dedication to organic farmers throughout her career makes leading the Organic Farmers Association the logical next step and she’s ready to advocate for what farmers need and want from the ground up!

In 2016 farmers from across the country came together to launch the Organic Farmers Association (OFA) to unite organic farmers for a better future together. Rodale Institute supports this initiative as fiscal sponsor and partner with OFA’s farmer leadership.

The mission of OFA is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. With the purpose to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by: developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations.

Whether you’re a farmer, organization or supporter, we welcome all to become an OFA member. Learn more about member benefits and become an OFA member today!