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USDA finalizing organic livestock rule withdrawal

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Monday announced the formal process to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule.

The last-minute Obama-era rule, published on January 19, 2017, would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers, according to USDA. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13th, 2018. Following review last year, USDA claims the rule exceeds the federal agency’s statutory authority, and changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program.

USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach says existing organic livestock and poultry regulations are “robust” and “effective.” According to USDA reports for 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased domestically by seven-percent and globally by 11%. Industry estimates show organic sales in the United States reached almost $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost $3.7 billion since 2015.