The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the highly anticipated Origin of Livestock final rule for organic dairy in the Federal Register. This change to the USDA organic regulations will promote a fairer and more competitive market for all organic dairy producers, by making sure that certified USDA organic dairy products are produced to the same consistent standard.
The agency’s National Organic Program will oversee the new rule, which in general allows a dairy livestock operation transitioning to organic, or starting a new organic farm, to transition non-organic animals one time. It also prohibits organic dairies from sourcing any transitioned animals. Once a dairy is certified organic, animals must be managed as organic from the last third of gestation. Variances may be requested by small businesses for specific scenarios.
This final rule will go into effect on June 6. Certified organic operations must comply with all provisions of this final rule by April 5, 2023.