Bloomberg's Cindy Skrzycki had a good explanatory column on the organic pasture rule in the Washington Post, noting my "big win" comment she first read here. But she quoted others who questioned the USDA's motives, like Ronnie Cummins over at the Organic Consumers Association. The USDA has lost credibility in the past on decisions in the organic sector, so it will be interesting to see if this attempt to close the grazing loophole will restore its stature at all.
I also wonder if presidential politics played a role at all in the timing of the decision -- that is, in trying to get the rule through before a new administration comes in. The Bush administration is actually quite busy weakening regulations across the board so this might be that rare, under-the-radar instance of an actual tightening, reflecting a broad industry and consumer consensus. Still, they might have wanted to get it done before the new guys arrived and started meddling again ... just a guess.
- Samuel Fromartz