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Organic Access to Pasture Final Rule Released

February 12, 2010

On a call with press and stakeholders this afternoon, Deputy Secretary Merrigan announced the release of the final rule governing the National Organic Program (NOP) regulations on livestock access to pasture.  A long time coming, this final rule aims to provide clarity in the organic regulations on livestock feed and living condition provisions and to establish a pasture practice standard for ruminant animals.

Main highlights from the rule include:

  • Ruminants must graze pasture during the grazing season for a minimum of 120 days;
  • Ruminants must have a minimum of 30% dry matter intake from pasture during the grazing season;
  • Organic livestock operations must have a pasture management plan that includes protection of soil and water quality;
  • Livestock must have access to pasture during the finishing period; and
  • During the 120-day finishing period, livestock do not have to meet the 30% dry matter intake from pasture requirement.

Even though this is a final rule, USDA has nonetheless opened a 60-day public comment period seeking additional comment on this final point.

Our friends at the National Organic Coalition have issued a strong endorsement of the final rule, stating that the final rule will enable NOP to “enforce consistently and fairly the requirements to access to pasture.”

The final rule will be published in the Federal Register later this afternoon.

Categories: Organic

One response to “Organic Access to Pasture Final Rule Released”

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