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Contact Your Representative TODAY about animal welfare standards in organic 

On January 18, 2017, the USDA finalized long-awaited animal welfare standards for animals raised under the organic label, but now the new Administration is reconsidering that decision. 

On top of that, the House Appropriations Committee may try to block the new rule from moving forward! 

The Committee will likely debate and vote on the Fiscal year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill during the week of July 10. There may be an attempt to attach a “rider” amendment to the bill then that could block the organic animal welfare rule from moving forward.
This is very bad news for organic. Strong welfare standards are critical to preserving trust in the organic label. The new rule levels the playing field and ensures that all poultry and eggs sold as organic meet the same species-specific requirements for space, outdoor access, and animal treatment.
Members of the House Appropriations Committee need to hear from us TODAY!

Don’t know who your Representative is? Find out here.
Call the Capitol Switchboard:
*Enter your zip code to connect with your Representative’s office.  Ask to speak with the staffer who works on agriculture or appropriations.
Tell your Representative:
“I am deeply concerned about any attempt to block or stall the new USDA organic animal welfare regulations through the appropriations process. Please ask Congressman/Congresswoman x to vote against any type of activity that would block implementation of the final rule.”

Additional talking points:
· Members of the organic community have been working for years to clarify and improve animal welfare standards in organic. Strong welfare standards are critical to preserving trust in the organic label.
· Organic livestock and poultry farmers that adhere to high standards are being undercut because of loopholes that allow a small number of producers to deny meaningful outdoor access to animals.  These new standards will level the playing field.
· Consumers who choose to buy organic eggs, poultry, and meat expect organic farmers to raise their animals in the healthiest conditions possible – to provide access to the outdoors, space to move around, and freedom to exhibit their natural behaviors. These new standards ensure that these expectations are being consistently met and only apply to those producers who choose to get certified as organic.
· The majority of organic livestock farmers already comply with these rules.
· Because the organic community has consistently called for meaningful outdoor access for poultry dating back to 1998, it is disingenuous for poultry operations that do not meet these requirements to claim that they have been taken by surprise. Operations that do not currently meet the standards will have ample time - up to five years - to comply with the new standards.
Any efforts to block or stall these new rules would be counterproductive and would undermine the interests of organic farmers and consumers.
If you Representative is listed below, he or she is on the House Appropriations Committee. Please call your Representative today!
House Appropriations Committee Members
· Rodney P. Frelinghuysen, New Jersey, Chairman
· Harold Rogers, Kentucky
· Robert B. Aderholt, Alabama
· Kay Granger, Texas
· Michael K. Simpson, Idaho
· John Abney Culberson, Texas
· John R. Carter, Texas
· Ken Calvert, California
· Tom Cole, Oklahoma
· Mario Diaz-Balart, Florida
· Charles W. Dent, Pennsylvania
· Tom Graves, Georgia
· Kevin Yoder, Kansas
· Steve Womack, Arkansas
· Jeff Fortenberry, Nebraska
· Thomas J. Rooney, Florida
· Charles J. Fleischmann, Tennessee
· Jaime Herrera Beutler, Washington
· David P. Joyce, Ohio
· David G. Valadao, California
· Andy Harris, MD, Maryland
· Martha Roby, Alabama
· Mark E. Amodei, Nevada
· Chris Stewart, Utah
· David Young, Iowa
· Evan H. Jenkins, West Virginia
· Steven Palazzo, Mississippi
· Dan Newhouse, Washington
· John R. Moolenaar, Michigan
· Scott Taylor, Virginia
· Nita M. Lowey, New York
· Marcy Kaptur, Ohio
· Peter J. Visclosky, Indiana
· José E. Serrano, New York
· Rosa L. DeLauro, Connecticut
· David E. Price, North Carolina
· Lucille Roybal-Allard, California
· Sanford D. Bishop, Jr., Georgia
· Barbara Lee, California
· Betty McCollum, Minnesota
· Tim Ryan, Ohio
· C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Maryland
· Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Florida
· Henry Cuellar, Texas
· Chellie Pingree, Maine
· Mike Quigley, Illinois
· Derek Kilmer, Washington
· Matt Cartwright, Pennsylvania
· Grace Meng, New York
· Mark Pocan, Wisconsin
· Katherine M. Clark, Massachusetts
· Pete Aguilar, California



NOC Calls on USDA to strengthen oversight for GE crops

On June 19, NOC submitted comments to the USDA asking for stronger oversight of genetically engineered crops. Genetic engineering is an excluded method in the organic standards and yet organic farmers and handlers routinely find GE material in at-risk organic seed and crops despite their best efforts to prevent this contamination. Contamination from GE organisms poses a significant threat to the integrity of organic products, the livelihood of thousands of family farmers here in the United States, and the integrity and growth of this $47 billion industry.

The USDA has put forward a proposal to update the way these crops are regulated. As a coalition that represents the interests of organic producers and consumers, we are deeply concerned that the current proposal would significantly weaken existing regulations and exacerbate the hardships experienced by organic and non-GE farmers. You can read NOC’s full comments here.


USDA asks for public input on GMO Labeling Bill

The USDA Agricultural Marketing Service on Tuesday posted 30 questions for the public regarding bioengineered crops and food labeling. The feedback will help the agency develop a proposed rule governing how food manufacturers disclose when products contain genetically engineered ingredients.

Congress enacted GMO labeling legislation in July 2016 and gave USDA two years to finalize the regulation. The USDA is preparing for a late-fall or early-winter release of the rule. Public input on the 30 questions is due on July 17.

NOC will be preparing comments on these questions. NOC unanimously opposed the GMO Labeling bill. Now that the bill has passed, NOC is asking that the USDA create a regulation that requires companies to disclose all genetically engineered ingredients (no loopholes for refined sugars and next generation genetic techniques like CRISPR).


Call for Proposals: 9th Organic Seed Growers Conference

Organic Seed Alliance invites you to help shape the 9th Organic Seed Growers Conference by providing proposals for content. This year's theme is Synergy that Sustains.

Proposals must be submitted by July 24, 2017.


We've Moved

NOC has a new mailing address. Please update your records. The new address is:

National Organic Coalition
25 Harvard Street
Arlington, MA 02476 


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