WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a proposed rule in the Federal Register Oct. 24 that proposed to amend the National Organic Program livestock standards to clarify the role pasture plays in the production of organic ruminants.
“This proposed rule gives producers better tools to manage pasture and demonstrate compliance with the National Organic Program and gives certifying agents better tools to measure that compliance,” said Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Lloyd C. Day.
The proposed rule takes into consideration previous comments from the organic industry, consumers and other organizations, as well as several National Organic Standards Board recommendations.
Highlights of the proposed rule include:
A definition of “growing season,” and the requirement all animals over six months must be on pasture throughout the growing season.
Animals must receive 30 percent of their dry matter intake from pasture.
A definition of “temporary confinement,” and clarification of periods of temporary confinement.
A pasture practice standard that addresses the management of pasture as a crop.
The comment period for the proposed rule closes Dec. 23. The proposed rule will be accessible on the National Organic Program Web site at www.ams.usda.gov/nop under Today’s News.
Comments will be accepted by mail and through the Internet at www.regulations.gov.
The mailing address is: Richard H. Mathews, Chief, Standards Development and Review Branch, National Organic Program, USDA-AMS-TMP-NOP, 1400 Independence Ave. S.W., Room 4008-So., Ag Stop 0268, Washington, D.C. 20250.