Under the direction of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, the USDA will reconsider the actions of the previous administration regarding the final rule on organic farming and poultry practices. Regulations for organic livestock and production standards were released in the closing days of Vilsack’s previous time at the USDA; but one of the first actions of the previous Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, was to repeal the Obama-era rule and reintroduce his own version.
“We intend to reconsider the interpretation of the previous administration that the Organic Food Production Act does not authorize the USDA to regulate the practices that were the subject of the 2017 Final Rule on organic farming and poultry practices, ”said Vilsack.
Speaking live on June 16 at the virtual meeting of more than 250 members of the Organic Trade Association, Vilsack presented a forward-looking agenda for the organic sector. Vilsack told members of the Organic Trade Association at the annual meeting that he appreciates the importance of the issue of organic animal welfare.
“We understand, appreciate the concern to do it, to do it right, to do it in a way that preserves the brand… I am engaged and I have engaged our team in a fast-track approval process. ”
He says he has asked the National Organic Program to begin regulation to respond to this statutory interpretation and to include a proposal to ban the use of porches as outdoor space in organic production over time and over time. other matters which were the subject of the PLO final rule.
The Organic Trade Association says it welcomes Vilsack’s recognition that animal welfare belongs to the organic and birds belong to the outside.
“This issue has been before the courts since 2017, when the Organic Trade Association filed a lawsuit to defend organic standards,” the OTA said in a statement. “The USDA has already admitted that its economic analysis behind Trump’s withdrawal from the PLO rule is flawed.”
The OTA added that USDA’s recognition of these issues now facilitates a full and expeditious resolution of this dispute. The next court filing deadline was June 18 and the OTA said it would proceed without a full settlement.
“We plan to send the proposed rule to OMB within six to nine months from the date of the referral,” adds Vilsack. “We look forward to receiving public comments on these topics and, after reviewing the comments, USDA will issue a final rule.”
While speaking to OTA members, Vilsack also promises to restore the post of USDA organic policy adviser, strengthening organic law enforcement and “increasing the number and diversity of those who will be. involved in inspections and certifications.
“We are working hard to protect the [organic] brand and expand a number of issues and opportunities for the organic industry… all designed to convey a strong message of the importance and importance that I personally and the department places on this industry ” , said Vilsack. “We recognize its importance, we recognize the value-added opportunities that it presents, and we believe that it is an important, very important part of the industry that will help us to a much better and climate-friendly agriculture.”