Exerpt from the USDA Rules and Regulations
regarding the National Organic Program

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205.237 Livestock feed. (a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must provide livestock with a total feed ration composed of agricultural products, including pasture and forage, that are organically produced and, if applicable, organically handled: Except, That, nonsynthetic substances and synthetic substances allowed under 205.603 may be used as feed additives and supplements. (b) The producer of an organic operation must not: (1) Use animal drugs, including hormones, to promote growth; (2) Provide feed supplements or additives in amounts above those needed for adequate nutrition and health maintenance for the species at its specific stage of life; (3) Feed plastic pellets for roughage; (4) Feed formulas containing urea or manure; (5) Feed mammalian or poultry slaughter by-products to mammals or poultry; or (6) Use feed, feed additives, and feed supplements in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

205.238 Livestock health care practice standard. (a) The producer must establish and maintain preventive livestock health care practices, including: (1) Selection of species and types of livestock with regard to suitability for site-specific conditions and resistance to prevalent diseases and parasites; (2) Provision of a feed ration sufficient to meet nutritional requirements, including vitamins, minerals, protein and/or amino acids, fatty acids, energy sources, and fiber (ruminants); (3) Establishment of appropriate housing, pasture conditions, and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites; (4) Provision of conditions which allow for exercise, freedom of movement, and reduction of stress appropriate to the species; (5) Performance of physical alterations as needed to promote the animal's welfare and in a manner that minimizes pain and stress; and (6) Administration of vaccines and other veterinary biologics. (b) When preventive practices and veterinary biologics are inadequate to prevent sickness, a producer may administer synthetic medications: Provided, That, such medications are allowed under 205.603. Parasiticides allowed under 205.603 may be used on (1) Breeder stock, when used prior to the last third of gestation but not during lactation for progeny that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced; and (2) Dairy stock, when used a minimum of 90 days prior to the production of milk or milk products that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organic. (c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must not: (1) Sell, label, or represent as organic any animal or edible product derived from any animal treated with antibiotics, any substance that contains a synthetic substance not allowed under 205.603, or any substance that contains a nonsynthetic substance prohibited in 205.604. (2) Administer any animal drug, other than vaccinations, in the absence of illness; (3) Administer hormones for growth promotion; (4) Administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis; (5) Administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock; (6) Administer animal drugs in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; or (7) Withhold medical treatment from a sick animal in an effort to preserve its organic status. All appropriate medications must be used to restore an animal to health when methods acceptable to organic production fail. Livestock treated with a prohibited substance must be clearly identified and shall not be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced.

205.239 Livestock living conditions. (a) The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals, including: (1) Access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable to the species, its stage of production, the climate, and the environment; (2) Access to pasture for ruminants; (3) Appropriate clean, dry bedding. If the bedding is typically consumed by the animal species, it must comply with the feed requirements of 205.237; (4) Shelter designed to allow for: (i) Natural maintenance, comfort behaviors, and opportunity to exercise; (ii) Temperature level, ventilation, and air circulation suitable to the species; and (iii) Reduction of potential for livestock injury; (b) The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement for an animal because of: (1) Inclement weather; (2) The animal's stage of production; (3) Conditions under which the health, safety, or well being of the animal could be jeopardized; or (4) Risk to soil or water quality. (c) The producer of an organic livestock operation must manage manure in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, heavy metals, or pathogenic organisms and optimizes recycling of nutrients.

Posted 11/8/02

Q: I am a certifying agent who has an application from a wool producer and processor. How is wool production and processing addressed in the NOP regulations?

USDA answer: Wool is considered an inedible fiber, along with cotton, flax, etc. Inedible fibers are addressed in the Preamble to Final Rule as follows:

(6) Nonedible Fibers Products in the NOP. Some commenters asked the NOP to clarify the certification status of fibers such as cotton and flax. The final rule allows for certification of organically produced fibers such as cotton and flax. However, the processing of these fibers is not covered by the final rule. Therefore, goods that utilize organic fibers in their manufacture may only be labeled as a "made with..." product; e.g., a cotton shirt labeled "made with organic cotton." In other words, the sheep must be certified organic in accordance with the NOP livestock standards, or the cotton, flax, etc., must be certified organic in accordance with the NOP crop standards to be identified as organic in a finished product. Also, since processing is not covered in the final rule, there are no synthetic processing aids used in fiber processing on the National List.