Some argue that government regulation has dumbed down organic standards.
But the USDA proposed a rule on Friday that would be a good thing for the National Organic Program (NOP). The rule intends to clarify the role pasture plays in the production of organic ruminants (cows, goats, sheep).
Agricultural Marketing Service Administrator Lloyd C. Day suggested in a press release that this rule would give producers better tools to manage pasture and certifying agents better tools to measure compliance.
The Organic Trade Association (OTA) issued a press release in support of the proposed rule, suggesting that the regulations are in the spirit of practices that most organic farmers have been using on their lands for years, and that they are good for consumers too. Christine Bushway, OTA's executive director, said: "This rule will continue to reassure shoppers that milk, beef, lamb, and other products are from animals that have access to well-managed pasture according to the strict national organic standards."
Highlights of the proposed rule include:
The comment period for the proposed rule closes on December 23, 2008.
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