Washington, D.C. – USDA’s Agriculture Marketing Service (AMS) delayed implementing the final rule for organic livestock and poultry welfare standards from May 19 to November 14, 2017, citing a federal freeze on new regulations until the administration conducts further review.
NCC originally provided comments outlining concerns around outdoor access and biosecurity, suitable enrichments, and the potential for market exclusion for poultry producers due to the proposed requirements.
AMS reviewed thousands of comments following the proposed rule public comment process in order to develop the Final Rule released on January 19, 2017; however, a number of concerns remained. These concerns appear to be shared by USDA, which cited “significant policy and legal issues addressed within the final rule that warrant further review by USDA” as the reason for issuing the second proposed rule which was published on May 10, 2017.
The second delay brought an additional opportunity for the agriculture sectors to evaluate and provide comment on the controversial rule by June 9, 2017. The NCC’s comments can be viewed here.
Specifically, USDA stated the agency would be pursuing one of four actions:
- Allow the rule to become effective on November 14, 2017.
- Suspend the rule indefinitely, during which time the USDA would consider whether to implement, modify or withdraw the final rule.
- Further delay the effective date of the rule beyond November 14, 2017.
- Withdraw the rule and not pursue implementation of the final rule.
NCC’s comments urge a suspension of the rule to allow for the construction of a coordinated biosecurity framework for organic poultry production, as well as the conduction of a cost analysis and risk assessment on the impact of the Final Rule.