Organic livestock standards get tougher

For their meat or milk to be labeled organic, the USDA ruled today, cows must have access to pasture for at least 120 days out of the year. That goes for sheep and goats, too.

The final rule provides certainty to consumers that organic livestock production is a pasture based system in which animals are actively grazing pasture during the grazing season. The majority of organic dairy and ruminant livestock producers are already grazing animals and maintaining pastures that meet the requirements of this rule. These standards contain clear requirements that will provide greater assurance that all producers are being held to the same standards.

The rules on "finishing" are still being finalized.