UEP Files Comments Supporting Withdrawal of Organic Rule

January 25, 2018

UEP has filed comments with USDA supporting the agency’s intention to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017, by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). The OLPP final rule amends the organic livestock and poultry production requirements in the USDA organic regulations by adding new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter and avian living conditions; and expands and clarifies existing requirements covering livestock care and production practices and mammalian living conditions.

USDA reported on its website: “USDA finds that the OLPP final rule would exceed USDA’s statutory authority. Withdrawal of the OLPP rule is also independently justified based upon USDA’s revised economic assessment of the Rule. If this withdrawal is finalized, the existing organic livestock and poultry regulations now published at 7 CFR part 205 would remain effective.”

UEP reiterated its support of the withdrawal of OLPP final rule in a letter to the USDA on January 17, 2018.  UEP concluded in its comments “Even if the agency were to conclude that there is a need and justification for further regulating organic livestock and poultry production practices, the existing rule is so manifestly flawed, and based on such flimsy (and sometimes error-based) analysis, that its shortcomings cannot be overcome by simply amending or modifying it.  Rather, any future work in this area should begin with a clean slate.  The proposal to withdraw the existing rule is consistent with a recognition of the rule’s deep flaws; is amply justified by the manifest errors in calculating costs and benefits for the existing rule; and is further justified by the existing rule’s failure to recognize, quantify and engage with major issues including animal health implications and the welfare of farmers who produce organic corn and soybeans.  For all these reasons, UEP supports withdrawal of the rule.”