Jim Riddle, University of Minnesota
Livestock used as breeder stock may be moved from a non-organic operation onto an organic operation at any time. However, if the livestock are gestating and the offspring are to be raised as organic slaughter stock, the breeder stock must be brought onto the organic farm and managed organically no later than the last third of gestation. Bulls used for breeding purposes only do not need to be managed organically.
Unless breeder or dairy animals have been fed and managed organically their entire lives, beginning the last third of gestation prior to their birth, they cannot be sold as organic slaughter stock. They can produce organic offspring or organic milk, but they cannot be slaughtered for organic meat.
Organic dairy and slaughter stock lose their organic status if they are removed from the organic farm and managed on a non-organic operation. They cannot be rotated back into organic production. For example, a dairy calf born from an organic cow cannot be raised non-organically for one year and then transitioned to organic for the second year to produce organic milk the third year.
- United States Department of Agriculture. 2000. National organic program: Final rule. Codified at 7 C.F.R., part 205. (Available online at: http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid=3f34f4c22f9aa8e6d9864cc2683cea02&tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title07/7cfr205_main_02.tpl) (verified 8 Dec 2015).