A henhouse currently certified under USDA “organic” standards

Dear Organic Community Stakeholder:

  1. If you haven’t signed the proxy letter and mailed it back, please do!
  1. If you have signed the proxy letter, please forward this email to your contacts. They respect your perspective—you have influence.

I’ve been involved in the organic farming movement for about 35 years, including almost 19 years working as an organic watchdog, and I have never seen such a dirty double-cross by federal officials—a conspiracy between corporate agribusiness lobbyists and the USDA to sell-out the values this movement was founded upon.

The USDA released a draft rule that they claim is: “…an opportunity to ensure consumers’ expectations align with the enforced organic standards, building trust across the supply chain and leveling the playing field for producers.” 

What a profound example of Orwellian doublespeak!

The fact is that right now the USDA is allowing giant corporations to confine as many as 200,000 birds in industrial buildings and as many as a million birds on individual “farms,” which are owned by conventional agribusiness giants.

The draft rule will continue to allow thousands of birds to be jammed into 1-2 ft² apiece, stacked floor to ceiling, with effectively no realistic access to the natural world.

Sign your proxy letter—we will not tolerate this continued duplicity!

Despite disallowing fully enclosed porches, the draft Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule will still end up institutionalizing factory farm confinement production instead of truly getting organic laying hens and broiler chickens outside, as the current law requires. It’s utterly unrealistic to think any appreciable number of birds will make their way through such overcrowded conditions to access the outdoors through a few tiny doors. And the few that do venture outside will only be granted a paltry 1-2 ft². In Europe, organic hens must have access to 43 ft2 each.

Do they think we—organic farmers, ethical businesses, and consumers—just fell off the turnip truck? These birds will have more room in the oven than when alive!

And if that small amount of space outdoors isn’t appalling enough, the USDA is proposing that poultry producers be allowed to either pave over with concrete or cover with gravel up to 50% of that measly outdoor space!

Few birds are ever going to pass through small doors into sterile porches without food, water, or any cultural enrichment, and then continue over additional concrete and gravel to reach true outdoor space where they can engage in their natural instinctive behavior of foraging (scratching and pecking for seeds, bugs, and worms), making them happy and creating eggs that are nutritionally superior and flavorful.

Please print and sign the proxy letter!  We will deliver it to the USDA as a formal comment during the rulemaking—and send our demands to President Biden.

We must impress upon President Biden that business as usual in Washington is not acceptable in organics. There’s a midterm election coming up, and he might be running for reelection in 2024. If he knew what was good for him, he would listen to us, the people he works for. As organics has grown into a $6 billion market segment, it has been co-opted by big money. We are asking the President to change course.

Although contributions are optional, we hope you will consider financially supporting the organic industry watchdogging we do at OrganicEye.

Over the course of the last three administrations, there’s been a shift on the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), with the vast majority now having direct relationships with the lobbyists from the Organic Trade Association (OTA).

Corporate agribusiness has always driven the conventional USDA and now drives the USDA National Organic Program and the National Organic Standards Board.

  • The only reason factory dairies, with 1000-20,000 animals, can be certified “organic” is the power of the corporate lobby.
  • The only reason organic fruits and vegetables can be grown in sterile-type conditions, under artificial light, in a solution of conventional soybeans and water, is the corrupt power of the corporate lobby.
  • And the primary reason the certification system doesn’t do much more than spin its wheels and burn up millions of dollars—while still not catching the major fraudsters—is that the lobbyists like it that way.

Sign the proxy asking President Biden and his administration to also give as much, or more, weight to the views of the nonprofit experts representing farmers and consumers as they do the wishes of corporate lobbyists

Please print and mail back your proxy today!

We might not have another chance to keep organics from being permanently corrupted. There are still plenty of honest farmers and businesses that are being competitively disadvantaged and injured. 

Thanks for standing with the organic farmers who pioneered this growing and successful movement,

Mark A. Kastel
Executive Director

PS: Although your contribution is voluntary, and we will deliver all proxies, I hope you will consider making a donation to not only support this expensive campaign but to stand with OrganicEye and our farmer-members in our ongoing role as a corporate and governmental watchdog protecting the integrity of the organic label.