Livestock Operation Has Organic Certification Revoked


The controversial case surrounding Promisedland Livestock’s organic certification came to a close last week as the operation’s organic certification was officially ordered suspended, effective July 28, 2011.

Accusations brought by advocacy group, the Cornucopia Institute, alleged that Nebraska based Promisedland Livestock was illegally passing conventionally raised cattle as organic and transferring those animals to Aurora Dairy complex in Platteville, Colorado—another operation that has been the target of suspicion over its organic certification. Cornucopia claims that Aurora operates a $100 million operation in two states with thousands of animals at each location, “The company has been under intense scrutiny from The Cornucopia Institute due to its highly questionable livestock management and organic practices.”

A decision to suspend Promisedland’s organic certification was actually issued by the USDA last year because of repeated failures to access company records. Promisedland filed for a stay on the decision, alleging that they were preparing to appeal the charges, but they withdrew the motion in June.

In a statement from Mark Kastel, Senior Farm Policy Analyst of the Cornucopia Institute, he said, “Just like Al Capone was not convicted of murder or racketeering, but rather of tax evasion, Promisedland was brought down by their unwillingness to share records, as required by law, that would’ve proven the organic origin of their cattle, with investigators from the USDA.”

According to Promisedland Livestock’s website, “We feed out all our own cattle and develop replacement beef heifers. We raise our own non-GMO grains and feedstuffs and are in control of both genetics and nutrition from conception to the end product.”

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Photo: Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites and, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better.