News Updates

April 2017

Organic Livestock & Poultry Practices Final Rule

4.24.17 This rule sets production standards for organic livestock and poultry, including transport and slaughter. This action assures consumers that organically produced products meet a consistent standard by resolving the current ambiguity about outdoor access for poultry. It also establishes clear standards for raising, transporting, and slaughtering organic animals and birds. This rule will provide for effective compliance and enforcement, as well as fair competition among organic livestock producers.

Key points of new rule: 

  • Requires that producers provide animals with daily access to the outdoors and that outdoor areas include vegetation and/or soil. Additionally, exit doors must be distributed to ensure animals have ready access to the outdoors. It does not allow enclosed porches to be considered outdoors or to meet the requirement for outdoor access.
  • Specifies the amount of space required indoors for chicken broilers and layers, prohibits forced USDA Agricultural Marketing Service | National Organic Program 2 molting, restricts the use of artificial light, limits the amount of ammonia in the air indoors, and requires perching space for laying chickens indoors.
  •  Describes when producers can confine animals indoors temporarily and codifies flexibility for producers to confine animals when their health, safety or well-being could be jeopardized.
  • Adds humane handling requirements for transporting livestock and poultry to sale or slaughter, and clarifies humane slaughter requirements.
  • Prohibits several kinds of physical alteration, like de-beaking chickens or docking cows’ tails.
  • Provides a phased implementation plan, allowing producers reasonable time to implement the rule

The Final Rule goes into effect on May 19th.   Make sure you understand the rule and how it affects your operation and organic system plan.  NOP Website        NOP Q & A

Promotional Materials for Certified Organic Producers Available

4.21.17 Need help promoting your NOFA-NY Certified Organic products?  Click to order No Spray signs, banners, and labels.  Orders may be email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mailed to NOFA-NY Certified Organic, LLC at 840 Upper Front Street, Binghamton, NY 13905.  

USDA Video for Certified Organic Handlers Importing

4.10.17: The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) protects the integrity of USDA organic products throughout the world, so consumers can trust the organic label. The size and complexity of organic trade has grown over time, and many U.S. businesses rely on imports to create the organic products that consumers want. As the organic market grows, many growers, processors, and handlers are working within multi-business supply chains, often across borders.

The global organic control system includes strict standards; certifier accreditation; farm and business certification; and enforcement. Within this system, organic handlers play a vital role in protecting the integrity of organic products from farm to market in complex supply chains.

The NOP has published a short video to review the responsibilities of organic handlers in verifying that organic imports comply with U.S. standards. The video also reviews the role of certifiers in overseeing imports and enforcing the standards.

This video is an educational resource for people who work with organic imported products that involve long and complex supply chains.

March 2017

Natural Resources & Biodiversity Conservation

3.31.17: The general natural resources and biodiversity conservation requirement of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic regulations at 7 CFR § 205.200 requires operations to “maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation, including soil and water quality.” Section 205.2 of the regulations defines “natural resources of the operation” as the “physical, hydrological, and biological features of a production operation, including soil, water, wetlands, woodlands, and wildlife.” 

NOP Guidance 5020 Natural Resources & Biodiversity Conservation

The Wild Farm Alliance has published a Biodiversity Conservation Guide to assist organic farmers and certifiers in determining appropriate conservation activities. 

Exporting Organic Products from Mexico to U.S

3.13.17: The NOP has delayed the mandatory requirement of import certificates for organic products exported to the United States from Mexico.  The NOP, however, recommends organic importers in the United States to request import certificates while waiting an updated implementation date.   At this time, a final deadline is unknown.  

February 2017

NOSB gives final recommendations for removal of 2018 Sunset Materials from the National List

2/23/17: Ivermectin (Livestock) and Carregeenan (Handling) have been recommended for removal from the National List.  We will keep you informed on when action is taken by the NOP on this recommendation. 

New Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule effective date is being moved to May 19

2.23.17: The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is delaying the effective date of the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule by 60 days to May 19, 2017.  These actions are being taken in accordance with guidance issued Jan. 20, 2017, to ensure the new policy team has an opportunity to review the rules. This is similar to procedures issued by previous administrations.

View Final Rule       View NOP Infographic