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”.