Organic Farmers Association Calls Out USDA for Letting Down Organic Dairies

(Kutztown, Pennsylvania): Today, Organic Farmers Association (OFA) delivered a letter to members of Congress asking them to ensure that the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) comply with the law and finalize the Origin of Livestock rule as soon as possible. Full letter can be found here.

Yesterday, July 17, 2020, was the deadline Congress set for the NOP to finalize the long-awaited Origin of Livestock rule.  This rule is necessary to close a loophole in organic dairy standards that has supported the rapid growth of large organic dairies and consequently put family organic dairy farmers out of business across the country.

The letter, signed by 70 organic farm organizations from across the nation, strongly urged members of Congress, including members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees, to pressure the USDA to make sure that the NOP complies with Congress’ mandate and finalizes the origin of organic livestock rule as soon as possible.  “The organic community is united in the immediate need for this rule.  We are disappointed this long-awaited deadline has passed without action from the NOP,” says Kate Mendenhall, Director of Organic Farmers Association.

“We have already lost many family organic dairies over the past few years as a result of this loophole and many more are suffering economic hardship.  The new rule won’t save organic family dairies, but it will sure help level the playing field and provide opportunity for a sustainable future,” says Ed Maltby, Executive Director of Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Alliance (NODPA).  “It is past time for the NOP to finalize the rule and provide much-needed clarity requested by the organic community.”

Congress recognized the need to strengthen the organic dairy standards and included language in the FY 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agency Appropriations bill requiring the NOP to issue a final Origin of Livestock rule within 180 days from the date of enactment.

Continued delays in implementing this rule will prolong the dire economics facing organic dairy farmers, as well as jeopardize consumers’ trust in the organic label. The organic community is gravely disappointed at the lack of attention and priority NOP has put on this issue and demand swift rulemaking and implementation. 

Organic Farmers Association and the 70 additional organic farm organizations are united in their request of Congress to hold NOP accountable for bringing equity to the organic dairy standards. 


ABOUT ORGANIC FARMERS ASSOCIATION: The mission of the Organic Farmers Association is to provide a strong and unified national voice for domestic certified organic producers. With the purpose to build and support a farmer-led national organic farmer movement and national policy platform by developing and advocating policies that benefit organic farmers; strengthening and supporting the capacity of organic farmers and farm organizations; and supporting collaboration and leadership among state, regional and national organic farmer organizations. Rodale Institute, a leader in the organic movement for 70 years, serves as fiscal sponsor for Organic Farmers Association. Learn more at