The USDA’s Regulatory Hammer Finally Comes Down on Promiseland Livestock

July 21st, 2011

One of the Largest Scandals in the Organic Industry’s History is Over

We are proud of The Cornucopia Institute’s role in bringing this scofflaw to justice.  For years, many in the industry suspected Promiseland Livestock was “laundering” conventional animals as organic (replacement heifers mostly going to giant factory dairy farms and beef cattle).

Cornucopia’s formal complaint, concerning illegal conventional cattle being transferred to the giant Aurora Dairy complex in Platteville, Colorado, eventually led to the downfall of Promiseland (USDA investigators later found Aurora had “willfully” violated 14 tenets of the organic regulations).

Just like Al Capone was not convicted of murder or racketeering, but rather of tax evasion, Promiseland was brought down by their unwillingness to share records with investigators from the USDA, as required by law, that would’ve proven the organic origin of their cattle.

It is sinful that this operation has, literally, been able to operate for years while going through this appeals process.  Organic farmers do need the right to due process, to assure that overzealous regulators do not strip them of their livelihoods, but these delays have been excessive and not only have fueled the buildup of a number of factory farms, allegedly including the 9000-head Natural Prairie operation in Texas, but these improprieties could’ve also defrauded many organic consumers along the way.

We know that National Organic Program director Miles McEvoy is cognizant of the loopholes that were exploited in this case, to drag out its final dispensation, and we expect that he will make proposals to tweak the regulations, ASAP, to ensure that never happens again.

You can read the USDA’s news release on this matter here.

 

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