Regulatory Brief

 National Organic Program; Access to Pasture (Livestock)


Formal title: 7 CFR Part 205; Docket Number [AMS-TM-06-0198; TM-05-14FR] National Organic Program; Access to Pasture (Livestock)


Summary:

This final rule amends livestock and related provisions of the NOP regulations. Under the NOP, the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) oversees national standards for the production and handling of organically produced agricultural products. AMS has taken this action to ensure that NOP livestock production regulations have sufficient specificity and clarity to enable AMS and accredited certifying agents to efficiently administer the NOP and to facilitate and improve compliance and enforcement. This action is also intended to satisfy consumer expectations that ruminant livestock animals graze on pastures during the grazing season. This action provides clarification and specificity to the livestock feed and living conditions provisions and establishes a pasture practice standard for ruminant animals. In doing so, producers are required to: provide year-round access for all animals to the outdoors, recognize pasture as a crop, establish a functioning management plan for pasture, incorporate the pasture management plan into their organic system plan (OSP), provide ruminants with pasture throughout the grazing season for their geographical location, and ensure ruminants derive not less than an average of 30 percent of their dry matter intake (DMI) requirement from pasture grazed over the course of the grazing season. The proposed requirements for fencing of water bodies and providing water at all times, indoors and outdoors, and the requirement for a sacrificial pasture have been deleted in this final rule. In addition, the proposed amendment to the origin of livestock section has been deleted in this final rule as issues pertaining to that topic will be reviewed and evaluated separately from this action.

This final rule requires that producers maintain ruminant slaughter stock on pasture for each day that the finishing period corresponds with the grazingseason for the geographical location. However, this rule exempts ruminant slaughter stock from the 30 percent DMI from grazing requirement during the finishing period. Although we are issuing this as a final rule, we are requesting comments on the exceptions for finish feeding of ruminant slaughter stock, as discussed below under "Livestock living conditions—Changes based on comments." The agency is providing an additional 60 day period to receive comments on provision.

Background Documents:

View AVMA's response to National Organic Program (NOP) Access to Pasture (Livestock) (PDF)

View Federal Register document (PDF)

Status:

AVMA responded on Decenber 23, 2008