Publications: Organic and Sustainable Agriculture


Issue Brief: The Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices Rule and Current Events

Cash Barker, Research Fellow; National Agricultural Law Center
Elizabeth Rumley, Senior Staff Attorney; National Agricultural Law Center

This short informational piece provides essential background, current events, relevant legal issues, and additional resources regarding a set of rules released and later withdrawn by USDA in regards to the National Organic Program.  These rules would have governed the living conditions of livestock and poultry sold as organic within the United States.  Further, it addresses the legal challenges to the withdrawal of those rules and provides a current legal status. Download this articlePosted 11/1/18 

Federal Regulation of Organic Food: A Research Guide for Legal Practitioners and Food Industry Professionals

Stephanie Jillian Covington and Burling Washington, DC

This guide explores methods and resources for researching the federal regulation of organic food following the passage of the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990.  This guide focuses on the current state of federal law and not on the pre-1990 history of organic food regulation, or on state regulation.  There are countless resources available, including government documents, online electronic files, books, trade journals, government and non-government sponsored websites, agricultural search engines, and commercial databases.  This guide examines these and other resources, providing the reader with a clear roadmap for approaching research on this topic.  Posted January 25, 2006 Download article Download table of contents

Farmers’ Markets Rules, Regulations and Opportunities

Neil D. Hamilton Professor, Drake University Law School Director, Agricultural Law Center

This study examines the structure and operation of farmers’ markets in the United States, giving special attention to the legal and regulatory issues that may shape their operation.  By looking at the rules and regulations markets use and by considering issues markets experience, it is possible to identify the most important challenges vendors and managers of markets may face.  The goal of this article is to provide a resource that will be valuable for farmers considering a farmers’ market, to vendors now selling at farmers’ markets, to the organizers and managers who run markets, and to those thinking about creating new markets.   Download this article. Posted: July 31, 2002.

A Legal Guide to the National Organic Program – Updated

Harrison M. Pittman Shannon Mirus Kathryn Peters Randi Reed National Agricultural Law Center

Congress enacted the Organic Foods Production Act (“OFPA”) of 1990 to create “national standards governing the marketing of certain agricultural products as organically produced products,” assure consumers that “organically produced products meet a consistent standard,” and facilitate “interstate commerce in fresh and processed food that is organically produced.” OFPA requires the USDA Secretary to establish national standards for organic production and handling consistent with OFPA.  On December 21, 2000, the USDA published a final rule that created these national standards.  The combination of OFPA and the final rule created the National Organic Program (“NOP”).  As of October 21, 2002, for a “producer” or “handler” to sell, label, or represent agricultural products as “organic,” that producer or handler must comply with all applicable requirements set forth in the OFPA and the final rule.  This article discusses the NOP by examining the OFPA, the NOP final rule, and prefatory comments to that final rule.     Download this article. Original version posted Mar. 10, 2004; Updated version posted Mar. 10, 2011