5, 2004: In the United States, it has only
been legal to label meat as “organic” since
February, 1999. The organic livestock industry is still
in its infancy, but interest in organic production is
growing rapidly and with interest comes responsibility.
In a 9 page report released by the University of Minnesota
two hundred and three participants from the U.S. and
Canada responded and prioritized organic livestock research
topics in ten categories.
The survey of organic livestock research needs was
developed and conducted by Jim Riddle, Endowed Chair
in Agricultural Systems at the University of Minnesota
in September, 2003 and was designed to identify the
areas in which there was the most interest and most
desperate need for answers.
The results revealed two strong trends: 1) the need
for a holistic “systems” approach for organic
livestock research; and 2) a widespread need for improved
processing, handling, and distribution systems for approved
inputs (feed, feed supplements, and medications) and
for organic livestock products. As one commenter stated,
“It is not enough to have a farm where organic
hay is grown.”
Consumer demand for organic products growing has been
growing at over 20 percent per year. The number of certified
organic beef cattle, milk cows, hogs, pigs, sheep, and
lambs was up nearly four-fold since 1997; and up 27
percent from 2000 to 2001. Certified organic poultry
– including laying hens, broilers, and turkeys
– showed even higher rates of growth during this
period. (Source: USDA Economic Research Service).
The complete survey can be found at: http://www.misa.umn.edu/Other/Livestock-Survey_web.pdf