As previously reported on this blog, USDA published the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) final rule on January 19, 2017. The rule established minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for chickens based on the type of production and stage of life, as well as added new provisions for livestock handling and transport for slaughter. Initially, the effective date for the rule was March 20, 2017; however, after USDA delayed the effective date several times, the rule was scheduled to become effective on May 14, 2018.
On December 18, 2017, USDA announced that it intended to withdraw the OLPP final rule (see our blog post from that day for more details). USDA received approximately 72,000 comments on its proposal to withdraw the final rule. The majority of the comments (over 63,000, including 56,000 form letters) opposed withdrawing the final rule. However, USDA explained in a March 12, 2018 press release that it “has determined that the rule exceeds the Department’s statutory authority, and that the changes to the existing organic regulations could have a negative effect on voluntary participation in the National Organic Program, including real costs for producers and consumers.”
USDA published the final rule that withdraws the OLPP rule (82 FR 7042) in the Federal Register on March 13, 2018 (83 FR 10775). The withdrawal of the OLPP rule is effective May 13, 2018.