calf in straw-bedded penNew rules could eventually affect organic dairy farms. However, most regulations proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will impact other livestock species far greater.

For dairy and hog farms, tail docking would become a no-no.

Likewise, dairy young stock over six months of age shall have access to the outdoors at all times, including access to pasture during the grazing season (except for provisions allowed under 205.239). That is the exact description from the Federal Register's published rules "National Organic Program; Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices; Proposed Rule."

USDA also further detailed organic calf-rearing standards. "Dairy young stock may be housed in individual pens under the following conditions: until weaning, providing that they have enough room to turn around, lie down, stretch out when lying down, get up, rest and groom themselves; individual animal pens shall be designed and located so that each animal can see, smell and hear other calves," wrote USDA officials. "Dairy young stock shall be group-housed after weaning."

Outside of those potential adjustments, the organic standard for dairy should be relatively status quo. For poultry there are some major changes, including egg-laying hens needing the equivalent of 2 square feet per bird both inside and outside. Meat birds require 1 foot of space for every 5 pounds.

Interested parties have until June 13, 2016, to submit comments on the proposed rules.

To comment, email your remarks to

(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2016
May 9, 2016
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