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Updates Considered For Organic Farm Rules

WAOW Television

There could be updates on the way for existing organic regulations.

The USDA puts out rules for organic farming, setting standards for what qualifies as organic, then each certifying agency interprets those rules.

Experts say the potential updates would provide clarity, helping ensure the rules are interpreted more evenly.

While the updates would also impact dairy and hog, the primary focus would be on poultry.

"The main topic that I've heard talked about is related to poultry, and what it means to have access to outside," said Heather Schlesser, Dairy Educator, UW Extension, "So some are interpreting that as a small little "porch," so they get a small little outside area versus a larger free run type area."

Adam Warthesen, Director of Government and Industry Affairs at Organic Valley, says that for the most part, the organic industry considers being outside to be truly outside, and not on a small porch.

But there are some that don't.

"This resolves part of that competitive harm. It makes sure everyone lives understands plays by the same sort of set regulations. And that's really important," said Warthesen.

Red Door Family Farmin Athens says this could be one way to help boost consumer confidence in the organic label.

"The more uniformly the regulations and the intentions behind them are applied across the spectrum of producers the better consumer confidence is served," said Tenzin Botsford, Owner of Red Door Family Farm, "Also the better the organic is served the better the producers are served and the better the customer is served and that's really what it's about."

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