Organic standards rule delayed another six months

May 11, 2017

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has announced a further six-month delay in a controversial rule for organic production standards that was issued at the very end of the Obama Administration. Originally scheduled to take effect on March 20, the rule was first delayed 60 days until May 19 as part of a government-wide process at the beginning of the Trump Administration. This further delay – specific to this regulation – will last until November 14.

In announcing the delay, AMS said, “There are significant policy and legal issues addressed within the final rule that warrant further review by USDA.” The agency also said that it “will publish a proposed rule that solicits public comments on the direction that USDA should take with respect to the rule.” That comment period will last 30 days, and then USDA will decide among four options:

  • Letting the rule become effective,
  • Suspending it indefinitely,
  • Delaying its effective date again, or
  • Withdrawing the rule altogether.

Modifying the rule’s terms was not among the options listed. UEP strongly opposes the rule and has called for it be either reversed or significantly changed.

Hundreds of media outlets have published stories on this new development. A statement from UEP is included in the Bloomberg BNA article, “Organic livestock rule has uncertain future after second delay.” After the article cites organic egg sales and estimated annual compliance costs, this statement by Chad Gregory is included: “United Egg Producers opposes the organic rule. We will evaluate this new decision in collaboration with our egg farmer-members, and then determine whether we will provide additional comment to USDA.”