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Organic Trade Association Seeks Court Hearing in Animal Welfare Standards Lawsuit

The Organic Trade Association wants its day in court. On March 7, the association requested that oral arguments be heard on its lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the Department’s failure to put into effect new organic livestock standards. The request comes as the case is gaining significant momentum and as more organic businesses and stakeholders take action and speak out in support of the lawsuit.

Since the filing of the lawsuit, a host of organic stakeholders representing thousands of organic farming families, organic certifiers and organic policymakers – along with leading animal welfare and retail groups speaking out for millions of consumers — have joined the Organic Trade Association’s challenge.

“We are ready to go. We want to advance this issue, and we want the court to hear our case,” said Laura Batcha, CEO and Executive Director of the Organic Trade Association. “We’ve gone through all the back and forth with USDA in our court filings, and now it’s time to present the organic sector’s case to the judge in oral arguments. USDA has requested that this case be dismissed, but this issue won’t go away. In fact, it is only picking up steam with key organic stakeholders joining us in our efforts.”

The Organic Trade Association last September filed a lawsuit against USDA in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia over the Department’s failure to put into effect the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices (OLPP) regulation. The regulation had been developed and fully vetted for more than a decade by the organic sector, the National Organic Standards Board and USDA’s National Organic Program. Since the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices final rule was published on Jan. 19, 2017, the government has attempted five times to delay the implementation of the rule, either through the formal rulemaking process or through its attempt to dismiss the suit.

Bellwether Farms Announces ‘Whole is Better’ Campaign

Bellwether Farms has announced a “Whole is Better” campaign to support national distribution for its Organic Whole Cow Milk Yogurt. The announcement coincides with ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural products show, March 8-10 in Anaheim, California.

The Whole Is Better campaign reinforces recent studies and reports suggesting that dairy foods made with whole fat milk are more nutritious than reduced-fat or fat-free products. Whole is Better supports the company’s mission to make healthy products for a full, active lifestyle. New campaign taglines will appear on packaging and in summer schedules for social media, sport events and online promotions. The campaign aims to increase national distribution of Bellwether Farms whole fat yogurts and cheeses, especially Organic Whole Cow Milk Yogurt which is currently distributed by UNFI, KeHe and Dairy Delivery.

“Our products are whole milk, intentionally. It’s common sense on top of good science, whole is better. Whole fat yogurt, cheese and milk taste better and are better for us,” says Liam Callahan, co-Founder, Cheesemaker and Yogurt Maker. “We respect the integrity of the milk so it delivers all the nutrition and health benefits naturally. With careful handling of the highest quality milk we can find, we have created a richer, creamier yogurt, without straining, adding thickeners or cream. We design our products to support healthy, active lifestyles for peak performance and enjoyment.”

Bellwether Farms adds Whole Cow Milk Yogurt to its award-winning line of Sheep Milk Yogurt as consumer demand for whole dairy products climbs. Made with organic whole milk from Jersey cows pastured on a farm near Bellwether Farms Sonoma County, California, creamery and sheep ranch, the new cow milk yogurt is naturally high in heart healthy fats and nutritious A2 protein and packed with essential vitamins and minerals. Bellwether Farms blends 12 live, active bacteria strains that work together to deliver the probiotic benefits expected from yogurt. New 3.75-ounce transparent cups reveal fresh fruit ready to blend into the creamy yogurt. Single serve cups and four-packs come in six flavors – Strawberry, Blackberry, Blueberry, Spiced Apple, Vanilla and Plain. A 32-ounce foodservice size is available in Vanilla and Plain.

Bellwether Farms will be sampling the whole goodness of Whole Cow Milk Yogurt in Hall E during ExpoWest. The booth will be stocked with samples to meet expected demand for the new yogurt.

Stonyfield Organic Launches Get Out the Vote Campaign at Natural Products Expo West

Stonyfield, a company which grew from humble beginnings as a small organic farming school in New Hampshire 35 years ago is celebrating the return of co-founder Gary Hirshberg in the newly-created role of Chief Organic Optimist. In his new role, Hirshberg will help accelerate Stonyfield’s long-standing mission of healthy people and a healthy planet through new products, partnerships, and initiatives that embody Stonyfield’s, and Hirshberg’s, innate activist spirit.

“Although we’ve never stopped working for healthy people and a healthy planet, everyone at Stonyfield agrees that the planet needs stronger voices now more than ever,” explained Hirshberg. “Of course, just the daily act of supporting over 1,400 organic family farmers stewarding millions of chemical-free acres and helping tens of millions to enjoy delicious organic foods is meaningful, but in today’s policy and political landscape, all of that is not enough. It doesn’t matter to our children how much organic yogurt we produce, if their air, soil and water are seeing increased chemical contamination, and climate change is causing massive damage to our communities and to agriculture.

Hirshberg is officially re-engaged at Stonyfield’s New Hampshire headquarters working closely with the team to further energize the company’s longstanding mission in big and bold ways. In coming months, the company will be announcing several initiatives to empower consumers to help protect the planet and the next generation of its inhabitants, including an ambitious public awareness campaign, Make Earth Cool Again, launched at Natural Products Expo West.

At Expo West, Stonyfield armed attendees with tools and resources to get out the vote for this year’s midterm elections, with the goal of encouraging consumers to vote for candidates who will help protect the environment. Expo attendees were encouraged to visit one of five onsite Stonyfield “voting” booths, where they could select a postage paid postcard to mail to friends and family across the country that will connect them to online educational resources about the environmental issues at stake – and where the candidates stand on them — this November. Stonyfield will also be encouraging attendees to pledge onsite to vote for candidates who will protect the environment and challenge recent Environmental Protection Agency decisions such as the announcement in late February that the Trump administration is dissolving the National Center for Environmental Research, which tests the effects of chemicals exposure on people, to roll its functions into a consolidated Office of Resource Management.

“I’m incredibly optimistic that Stonyfield can help lead the way in protecting more of our air, water and topsoils as well as animals and people from toxic persistent pesticides, herbicides, and other chemical inputs as well as climate changes that harm our children and the planet,” said Hirshberg. “The upcoming midterm elections are the best possible place for us to start making an immediate impact.”

“We’re thrilled to have Gary back to his activist role in the Stonyfield family,” says Esteve Torrens, Stonyfield President and CE-Yo. “Gary brings a spirit of activism and optimism that we can create a healthy world for our families today and generations to come, and he’s already harnessed that spirit for the Make Earth Cool Again campaign. Gary has long been a believer that business can be a force for change, and we look forward to having him help lead us on the journey ahead.”

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