After years of fighting against corporate and government corruption of organic standards, including a USDA loophole allowing heifers from conventional dairies (fed with cheap, imported, often fraudulent GMO grains) to be added to organic dairy herds, giving large confinement dairies an advantage over smaller grass-fed family farms, the organic community appears to be gaining a victory.
According to the Vermont Digger:
“The U.S. Department of Agriculture has decided to close a loophole in the National Organic Program, a long-awaited step that advocates say will strengthen faith in the organic dairy label and level the playing field for farmers across the country.”
“We should be celebrating this,” said Nicole Dehne, certification director of Vermont Organic Farmers. “We have been advocating for this change for many, many years.”
The Real Organic Project (ROP) in their April 3 newsletter stated:
“After decades of lobbying the National Organic Program, last Tuesday the USDA, at last, announced an Origin of Livestock Final Rule. It will require all certified organic dairy cows to be raised as organic from the last third of gestation. This will close a giant loophole that industrial ‘organic’ dairies have been using to cut their costs by raising calves on conventional feed and then cycling them back into organic production for milking. If there is enforcement, the industrial dairies will be required to do what is simply a given for the real organic dairies.”
ROP went on:
“In early March, Organic Valley announced that they are sending ‘letters of intent’ to purchase the milk from approximately 80 farms that were dropped by Horizon last fall. While priority will be given to the current members of the OV cooperative, the hope is that these farms will become contracted coop members over time. In these difficult times for organic dairies, Organic Valley has made a good-faith effort to do what is right by these farms, in stark contrast to the treatment they have gotten from Horizon.”