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New Organic Rules Miss the Mark – Pasture Posts #141

Here’s the weekly roundup from Watson Farms and your direct connection to your farmer. Enjoy the latest edition of Pasture Posts!

My recent scan of the new rules that will be implemented for organic livestock and poultry producers led me back to some conclusions that I’ve held for a number of years such as:

Frequent movement of livestock is critical and imperative.  These new rules completely miss this single concept that is of the highest importance.  They spend untold language on specifying when animals should have access to the outdoors, what the conditions of their indoor housing should be, and endless other protocols which all could be solved by simply saying that poultry should be moved daily to a new spot during the growing season. 

All of our animals are rotated regularly to fresh pasture during the growing season.  Our broilers get a fresh spot every morning and each bird has access to an average of 56 square feet of pasture over it’s lifetime.  Our cattle get moved daily to a fresh paddock and make an average of about 15 rotations per year over the 300 acres of fenced pasture on our farm.  Our layer chickens are also moved daily and end up covering about 40 acres of pasture during each growing season.  Our pigs are moved about every 7 days to a new ~¼ acre paddock which translates to each group of pigs covering about 5-7 acres in the 6 months that they stay with us. 

Nevertheless, special provisions have to be made in the winter for our livestock in order to keep them comfortable, producing/gaining, and to avoid destroying pasture.  This transition to winter protocols usually starts around the time of the first frost which ends the growing season.  This killing frost has just occurred at our farm in the last few days.  

  • Broiler production stops.  We are currently winding down our broiler production and will be processing the last birds within the month.  
  • Cattle rotation slows as we feed hay during periods of slow grass growth.
  • The layer chickens move to a deep-bedded stationary house where we can keep them more comfortable in cold weather.  Their pasture houses have already started making their turn to the winter housing and the hens will find themselves in a warm, freshly-bedded barn with plenty of outdoor access within a matter of days.  
  • The pigs move faster through their paddocks to keep from disturbing the soil too much.  Large round bales of straw bedding and portable shelter is provided to keep them comfortable.

While the intentions may be good overall, the USDA National Organic Program is the wrong approach.  It is an industrial approach to regenerative agriculture.  It’s impossible to codify all the nuances of how an animal should be cared for and the provisions with which they should be provided.  Furthermore, weather varies greatly throughout the U.S. and perhaps the same standards should not apply to producers in Florida as in Wisconsin.

Simply put regenerative ag is no place for the government’s heavy-handed, highly bureaucratic, capital-intensive approach.  This should be resolved by informed consumers and sensible farmers working together to ensure animals are raised in the best possible environment.

Thank you for being such an informed consumer!

Product Spotlight

Pasture raised turkeys are in!!

Although we have not taken on the pastured turkey enterprise ourselves, we have been able to source some pasture-raised, non-GMO fed turkeys from a like-minded producer so that we can offer these to our customers this holiday season.

We have a limited number and they are selling fast. These birds were moved daily onto fresh pasture just like we would raise them. This is a great way to upgrade your holiday meal with a product you can be proud of and have confidence in.

Produce Boxes Available!

Our partnership with Wild Hope Farm continues this fall as they are working hard to provide you with superior organic produce that can be delivered to your door right along with anything else that we deliver on our van. (Not available for UPS Shipping at this time.) In order to provide you with the freshest produce possible, we have implemented the deadlines below.

Produce Box Order Deadlines:




Head over to the product page to order now.

Order Deadlines and Store Hours

Here’s a friendly reminder to get your orders in by the deadline. We have changed our workflow some to help reduce errors, so we have to begin the process of staging orders for the next day’s delivery very soon after the deadlines below. Help us serve you better by ensuring your order is placed in time!

Charleston Area: 12 noon Mondays

UPS Orders: 12 noon Mondays

Columbia Area: 12 noon on Tuesdays

GSP: 12 noon on Wednesdays

Charlotte/Fort Mill/Rock Hill Areas: 12 noon on Fridays

Farm Pickup: Please wait until you receive an email stating that your order is ready to be picked up (usually 1 business day from when you place your order). Farm pickup is done during store hours:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 10am to 6pm
Saturday: 10am to 2pm
Closed Sunday and Wednesday

A quick note about pets at the Farm Store

While we are dog lovers, (we have four Great Pyrenees that protect our chickens and we have a whole category devoted to pets) we have had numerous incidents over the last year with customers’ pets that require us to instate a policy restricting personal pets from exiting your vehicle when you come to the Farm Store. Thank you.

Tell a Friend!

It’s now easier than ever to Give $15 and Get $15 through our Referral Program. We don’t spend a lot of money of advertising, but rather we focus on producing products that people love and are willing to tell others about. So we depend on word of mouth to find new customers and ultimately to heal more land.

So in an effort to streamline this process we have made it easier to tell others (via email, Facebook, or Twitter) about Watson Farms. And it’s all automated on the backend, so you don’t have to rely on us to issue the store credits manually. Just head over to our Referrals Page and start sharing!

Did you know that we have a webpage that displays all the reviews we have received?  

Check it out!

Check out this ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ review:

“I have severe food allergies and have to be very selective on what I eat. Gave Watson Farms grass fed Gourmet Ground Beef and Grass fed Rib eye and Strip Steaks a try. Fabulous will be placing a larger order soon.”

We would greatly appreciate it if you would be kind enough to leave us a review.  It helps first-time customers purchase with confidence.

Thanks again for being partners in this endeavor of local, pasture-raised proteins that has truly transformed our farm.  We look forward to continuing this transition while serving you long into the future.


The Watsons

Pasture Posts is written by Matt Watson.

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