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USDA Inaction Leaves Organic Dairy Farmers in a Very Vulnerable Position, Congress Is Forced to Take Action

With some sophisticated maneuvering of legal paperwork, cows that have been fed GMOs and injected with growth hormones can all of a sudden be classified as organic cows.

And this can go on repeatedly, year after year.

How does this happen?

Because of a loophole in the Origin of Livestock rule, which governs how animals are transitioned into organic production. And some big operators are abusing this rule to the complete detriment of smaller organic dairy farms, many of whom have suffered total financial ruin.

“Farmers need a level playing field, and I’m greatly concerned that a small handful of factory-scale farms are using their influence to cut corners and erode the true intent of organic farming. To undermine the integrity of the organic label is to threaten the entire sector upon which it’s built,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), the ‘father’ of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, told Organic Insider.

Under the Origin of Livestock rule, the predominantly held interpretation is that a whole dairy herd can be converted to organic over a 12-month period — once. Not multiple times.

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