National Organic Program Grants Pasture Variance
The drought of 2012 is the most serious to impact U.S. agriculture since 1988. As of August 15, 2012, Secretary Vilsack has designated 1,670 U.S. counties as natural disaster areas due to severe drought.
While these severe conditions affect all farms in these counties, organic ruminant livestock operations--unless their pasture has access to irrigation--may not be able to meet the organic pasture requirements in the USDA organic regulations.
In addition to USDA's other drought relief efforts, AMS Administrator David Shipman is granting a temporary variance in affected counties to support Secretary Vilsack's efforts to provide relief to affected farmers during this challenging time.
For complete information on the variance and a list of affected counties, view the announcement on the USDA's website.