Back in 2002, the USDA instituted a set of organics rules that stated that cows must have access to pasture. This created a whopping loophole that allowed big producers to sell so-called organic milk from cows who weren’t fed much — if anything — in the way of actual pasture.
But late last week, after almost a decade’s worth of efforts from organic activists to get the rule changed, the USDA supposedly closed the loophole so that beginning in June, organic dairy herds will be required to be sent to pasture for the entirety of the grazing season, which is at least 120 days. They must obtain at minimum 30 percent of their food from pasture during the season.
This regulation is one that small farmers, who already follow such practices, have been agitating for for quite some time; it’s gratifying to know that, thanks to the USDA’s action, they now find themselves on a slightly more level playing field with big ag.
[Via the Atlantic Food Channel]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on February 16, 2010