Joan Shaffer (202) 720-8998
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, Oct. 22, 2008 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture will publish a proposed rule in the Federal Register on Oct. 24 that proposes to amend the National Organic Program (NOP) 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 NOP and gives certifying agents better tools to measure that compliance,” said Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Lloyd C. Day. “Consumers will also know the regulations for animals grazing on pasture meet their expectations.”
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 that all animals over the age of six months must be on pasture throughout the growing season.
--Animals must receive 30 percent of their dry matter intake (DMI) 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 on Dec. 23, 2008. The proposed rule will be accessible on the NOP website 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
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Room 4008–So., Ag Stop 0268
Washington, DC 20250