NOP New Proposed Rules Regarding Organic Certification, Pt. 2

Welcome back,

Yesterday we introduced some of the new changes that are being proposed to the organic certification requirements of the NOP. As of yesterday (5/10/17), there was a new 30-day comment window opened to take suggestions regarding the implementation of the rules.

If you would like to comment on the course of action for the new rule, please visit:

The final rule may be found here:

Today’s post discusses some highlights of the proposed changes to mammal living conditions.


Mammalian living condition rules are now separated from avian living condition rules. The rule requiring all ruminants to be able to feed simultaneously has been removed. The rule regarding livestock shelter has been revised so that livestock in shelter must be able to express normal patterns of behavior over a 24-hour period. Mammals may be contained during parts of the day for milking, etc., but must be able to move, turn, and stretch their limbs for at least part of the day.

New provisions for group housing are also included. For dairy stock, individual housing is allowed until weaning, but no longer than 6 months. Dairy young must also have room to lie down, move around, and see other animals. Swine may be individually housed in three circumstances: 1) sows may be housed individually during farrowing and suckling; 2) boars can be separated to reduce the likelihood of fights and injuries; 3) swine may be separated to recover from a documented illness, or after multiple instances of aggression. Flat decking of piglets is now prohibited. A requirement has also been added to mandate indoor and outdoor areas for rooting.

Outdoor access is now required year-round for livestock, except in cases where temporary confinement is justified, for example: nighttime confinement to protect against predators, natural or artificial breeding, or youth livestock projects, etc.. If the outdoor area contains soil, there must be maximal vegetative cover. The rule does not give clear guidance as to what “maximal vegetative cover” means in practice, so we recommend that you work closely with your certifier to ensure you are in compliance.

Good luck out there in the fields!

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

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