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January 26, 2010

Don't Let Lobbyists Weaken New Organic Dairy Standards

By Lynn Buske

The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is nearing the end of its critical review of proposed new regulations clarifying the requirement that dairy cows and other ruminants consume a meaningful amount of feed from pasture and grazing. Powerful factory farm interests opposed to the rule, who want to continue to principally confine animals in feedlot style operations, have privately met with OMB officials.

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Action Alert

Contact the White House Don't Let Lobbyists Weaken New Organic Dairy Standards

Farmers and consumers concerned with the integrity of organic dairy farming need to contact the White House (IMMEDIATELY) and urge the President to support a strong standard governing organic livestock and dairy management practices.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is nearing the end of its critical review of proposed new regulations clarifying the requirement that dairy cows and other ruminants consume a meaningful amount of feed from pasture and grazing. Powerful factory farm interests opposed to the rule, who want to continue to principally confine animals in feedlot style operations, have privately met with OMB officials and are seeking to weaken the new rule.

In the past, USDA officials have used the excuse that they needed tighter rules for enforcement against factory farm scofflaws -- this has allowed the rapid rise of feedlot factory farms in organic dairying, milking as many as 7,200 cows. These new regulations will negate that illegitimate excuse.

The giant operations have produced so much milk with their cheaper, suspect practices that a surplus is now driving legitimate, ethical family farmers off their farms and out of organic dairying. A strong new rule, coupled with promised enforcement from the Obama/Vilsack administration at the USDA, will level the playing field and prevent factory farms from continued cheating.

Contact the White House today and urge them to support a strong new standard for organic dairy cows and livestock that will require meaningful pasture and grazing. Tell them you support testimony from The Cornucopia Institute and FOOD Farmers.

To share your view:

Call: 202-456-1111 Email: president@whitehouse.gov or use this online form: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Write President Obama at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington, DC 20500

Some sample language:

I support the official comments of FOOD Farmers and The Cornucopia Institute. We ask that you instruct the OMB to respect the 10 years of collaborative work that has gone into clarifying strict pending regulations for organic livestock, especially requiring pasture. Thank you for appointing officials at the USDA who share our values in the organic community.

The decision by the administration could come within, literally, hours or days, so please do not wait. Make sure that the farmers' and consumers' voice is just as loud as the powerful agribusiness lobbyists bending the ears of administration officials!

For a better understanding of the issue you can read the detailed backgrounds, prepared by The Cornucopia Institute, that was submitted during our meeting with the OMB Friday, January 22, 2010:
http://www.cornucopia.org/USDA/PastureLivestockRuleBackground.pdf



Submitter: Will Fantle

Submitters Website: http://www.cornucopia.org

Submitters Bio:

I work for The Cornucopia Institute. We are a non-profit that works to protect sustainable/organic food and small-scale farming. We often write press releases surrounding what is happening in the industry and what our research discovers. You can visit our website to see this news plus news from others in the industry that we post: www.cornucopia.org. I love my job and support our staff and our mission a great deal, and have decided to share our news on opednews.

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