Well friends, it looks like all of our bovine brethren on organic farms will have some tasty cud to chew! The USDA published the FINAL RULE ON ORGANIC ACCESS TO PASTURE, which ensures that organic livestock production is a PASTURE based system. Hooray!
According to our friends, THE FOOD FARMERS (the Federation of Organic Farmers), this final rule will “require that dairy cows and other ruminants be out on pasture for the entire growing season, but for not less than 120 days. It also requires that the animals receive at least 30% of their feed, or dry matter intake (DMI), from pasturing. In addition, organic livestock will be required to have access to the outdoors year-round with the exception of temporary confinement due to mitigating and documentable environmental or health considerations.”
And the reactions are pouring out quicker then you can say “pasteurize it!” As Kathie Arnold put it, “I am still pinching myself to be sure that this is all real–after all these years it seems almost too good to be true.” Kathie Arnold and Jim Gardiner who both appear in WOAO? are members of the Federation of Organic Farmers.
The controversy concerning the loophole in the old standards is a strong point that is addressed in WOAO?… How do we ensure that the integrity of the organic label is maintained? As the organic industry grows, will it just fit into the exploitative food system we already have or will we reinvent the food system to be more environmentally and socially ethical?
Here’s a SNEAK PEAK of an organic cow digesting pasture from one of WOAO?’s animations!
And check out the Northeast Organic Dairy Producer’s Alliance website, if you want more information on more pasture rule resources…
So, after nearly a decade of wading through bureaucratic hurdles along with a dose of the regulation-enforcement-averse climate of the Bush administration, it is a HAPPY DAY FOR ORGANIC DAIRY FARMERS, LIVESTOCK, AND FOOD CITIZENS.
Let’s raise a glasses of organic milk high in air and give three cheers–this ones for the cows!
Shelley, Ursula, & the WOAO? team