Organic farmers are fighting new plans to deregulate the organic egg industry, saying they want a level playing field, and to maintain integrity.
In a highly-anticipated movement from the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced plans to take away a requirement that would mandate organic egg producers give their hens outdoor room to graze.
Currently, organic farmers have to give hens ‘access’ to outside. Large egg producers have ‘followed’ that rule by building houses that can hold tens of thousands of hens, but still give ‘access’ through a small, enclosed ‘porch.’ The rules that were finalized under the end of the Obama administration denied these porches as adequate under organic farming practice.
Large egg producers have been fighting that, but interestingly, its organic farmers are vowing to fight the deregulation, saying it is imperative to keep the honor and integrity in organic farming, while also maintaining a level playing field for all organic farmers.
The Department of Agriculture put the rules on hold earlier this year to study them and see whether or not the Obama-era regulation exceeded the USDA’s statutory authority. The administration just announced that they believe it does, and will withdraw the regulation completely from organic standards.
Some non-organic farms, including the National Pork Producers Council, are in favor of the deregulation, saying that any federal regulations may be an intrusive issue of welfare practices on farms, but The Organic Trade Association says that the deregulation is abominable and will fight the deregulation in court.