As the original organic standards were being developed, the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Apiculture Task Force was charged with development of organic apiculture standards. In September 2001, they issued a report and Draft Organic Apiculture Standards. The draft organic apiculture standard established allowed and prohibited production practices for organic apiculture operations based on the requirements of the Organic Foods Production Act (OFPA). During the same time period as the release of this recommendation, the first Organic Rule was being prepared for implementation as of October 2002. The competition for priorities left organic apiculture on the list of items requiring future rulemaking.
In the interim, certifiers are using existing Livestock Standards as a baseline for certifying organic apiculture operations, and the related sections of the National List of Allowed and Prohibited Substances. The fact that apiculture varies considerably from other livestock operations has led to a great deal of variability in the requirements of certification. Growing pressure from organic stakeholders and the movement toward equivalency agreements spawned a renewed effort to develop apiculture specific organic standards. In 2010 NOSB released a recommendation based on the 2001 Recommendation and additional public comment.
The National Organic Program (NOP) is currently working on rulemaking for apiculture standards. It's hard to predict exactly when a proposed will be published. OTA will continue to monitor the process and engage members in the comment process as soon as the proposed rule is released.