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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

• The Washington Post this morning reports that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) “is proposing stricter grazing standards for cows certified to produce organic dairy products, closing loopholes that allowed some operators to cut corners. Regulators found that some producers, though certified organic, were cutting corners on the standards because the current rule doesn't define what ‘access to pasture’ means. Some dairies didn't give grazing time to cows that had just given birth or wouldn't let cows out to pasture in the rain.

“The Oct. 24 proposal specifies that organic livestock, those raised free of hormones, antibiotics or pesticide-treated grain, must be allowed to graze in a pasture at least 120 days a year. Thirty percent of the cows' feed must be from such grazing, rather than being fed organically produced food in a feedlot or an indoor facility. The change, eight years in the making, is significant because consumers pay up to twice as much for organic milk, whose sales are growing but are only about 6 percent of the $17 billion spent annually on milk.”

Morning News Beat....Kevin Coupe

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