Take Action for Organic Integrity!

Even though there are lots of other things dominating the news, and the attention of lawmakers, we still need to remind our elected officials and the USDA that there is immediate work to do to ensure the integrity of the organic label. The USDA is past its deadline for a new proposed rule to prevent fraud in organic supply chains (the “Strengthening Organic Enforcement” rule required by the 2018 Farm Bill), but we are hopeful that proposal will be moving through the approval process soon and will be letting you know when the public comment period on this important issue opens up.

But we also need to remind Congress that USDA is perilously close to missing a deadline set by Congress for finishing a long-overdue rule to increase the standards for how livestock are transitioned into organic (the “origin of livestock” rule.)

Email Congress

Right now, the best way to reach your members of Congress is likely to be email, since many congressional offices have shifted their staffs to working remotely. You can find contact information for your Representative at (use the “Find Your Representative” box at the top right and then go to your member’s website and look for a Contact tab) and your two Senators at (go to the “Senators” tab and then “Contact” to find the Senators from your state.)

Here’s what you can tell them in your email.  Add details about your farm (especially if you are a dairy farmer) if you would like.

Example Email

Dear Senator/Representative:

I am your constituent and I urge you to act now to ensure that the USDA closes loopholes in the organic standards that are hurting organic dairy farmers. The USDA’s National Organic Program is about to miss a deadline set by Congress in the FY 2020 appropriations bill to finalize a rule on how animals are transitioned into organic production.

We desperately need this rule to close loopholes in the organic regulations that are being exploited by large-scale dairy operations that continuously cycle animals in and out of organic production. This rule is long overdue and it is necessary for consistent enforcement to create a level playing field for all organic dairy producers. USDA’s failure to tighten these standards has allowed some large operations to unfairly flood the market with organic milk, hurting smaller farmers and endangering consumers’ trust in the organic label.

Congress required USDA to complete the OOL final rule by June 17, 2020.  This deadline is fast approaching and we need you to make sure that USDA finishes this rule as soon as possible.


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