USDA Decides Not to Impose Additional Regulatory Requirements for Organic Producers and Handlers

Monday, March 12, 2018 – 11:45am
Contact Info:

WASHINGTON, March 12, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the decision to withdraw the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule published on January 19, 2017. The rule would have increased federal regulation of livestock and poultry for certified organic producers and handlers. The withdrawal becomes effective May 13, 2018.

Significant policy and legal issues were identified after the rule published in January 2017. After careful review and two rounds of public comment, USDA has determined that the rule exceeds the Department’s statutory authority, and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including real costs for producers and consumers.

“The existing robust organic livestock and poultry regulations are effective,” said USDA Marketing and Regulatory Program Undersecretary Greg Ibach. “The organic industry’s continued growth domestically and globally shows that consumers trust the current approach that balances consumer expectations and the needs of organic producers and handlers.”

According to USDA reports for 2017, the number of certified organic operations increased domestically by seven percent and globally by 11 percent. Industry estimates show that organic sales in the United States reached almost $47 billion in 2016, reflecting an increase of almost $3.7 billion since 2015.

The Department carefully considered public comments and the relative costs and benefits for both producers and consumers of imposing the proposed additional regulations.

More information on the OLPP final rule is available in the March 12, 2018, Federal Register, and on the USDA National Organic Program web page.

Free Estate & Succession Planning Ag Liens and Loans Workshop

You are welcome to attend a free workshop on Succession & Estate Planning (morning sessions) and Ag Liens & Loans (afternoon sessions).   The workshop will be held in Loup City on March 29, 2018 at the Community Center. Lunch will be provided.  The workshop runs from 10:00 am to 2:30 pm.  There is no charge for the workshop.  To register (and for questions) call the Rural Response Hotline at 1-800-464-0258.

What the workshop is about?  Estate & Succession Planning (Hawbaker & Goeller) The workshop is about farm and ranch business succession and estate planning.  The workshop should be useful for established farm and ranch owners, for their successors, and for beginners.   Topics include:  stages of succession planning, contribution & compensation, balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs, the importance of communication, setting goals,  and assessing feasibility; beginning farmer loan and tax credit programs; estate planning issues and tools, including incapacity planning, taxes, co-ownership, direct and indirect ownership; legal tools for balancing the interests of on-farm and off-farm heirs; asset protection; use of entities; and examples of planning.

Liens (Hawbaker) – Nebraska’s statutory agricultural liens, from the producer’s perspective:  What are they?  How do they work? These are liens that give creditors rights in certain property, such as crops, feed and livestock, to secure payment of obligations for goods or services, such as seed, fertilizer, ag chemicals, petroleum products, veterinary assistance, cattle care, harvest work and machine repair.  The discussion will focus on identifying the liens and understanding how they work from the producer’s perspective.

Loans (Goeller) – The presentation will provide producers with an inside look at “What your lender is looking for.”  The impact of Collateral, Cash Flow, Credit Score, Character and Trends on loan applications.  A brief overview of Balance Sheets, Trend Sheets and Ratio Analysis will also be included.

Joe Hawbaker, Agricultural Law attorney, with Hawbaker Law Office, Omaha

Dave Goeller, Agricultural Finance and Transition Specialist

This workshop is made possible by the North Central Risk Management Education, Nebraska Network for Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, the Farm and Ranch Project of Legal Aid of Nebraska, , National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Nebraska Department of Agriculture’s Next Gen, Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation, and Nebraska Extension in Central IV.

“A Visit to Slow Foods Nation, Denver 2017” Webinar available through SARE

A webinar is scheduled for Friday, March 16th at 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. as part of the Nebraska SARE Webinar Series. The webinar title is, “A Visit to Slow Foods Nation, Denver 2017”. This past summer Jerry and Renee Cornett of Prairie Plate Restaurant near Waverly, NE received a SARE Travel Scholarship to participate in this event. This event focuses on a number of food issues and there are several opportunities to participate in different discussions and programs. More than 10,000 chefs, policymakers, farmers and food lovers from all over the world will be talking about food justice, sustainability and management. There was discussion over agricultural issues and all kinds of food were there as well. Jerry and Renee will talk about their experience at this event during the webinar. The link to the webinar is: This webinar will be recorded if you are unable to participate at this time.  If you have questions, contact Gary Lesoing at (402) 274-4755.