Confused by the Word “Organic” on Fertilizer Packages?

Many fertilizers and some herbicides and pesticides are labeled as “organic,” even though they aren’t allowed for use in organic production. These products are using the word “organic” as a chemist would, meaning they contain carbon compounds. The USDA only restricts the use of the word “organic” on food products, which allows companies to put whatever they choose on an input label as long as it is factual. This does not mean that the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) has approved these inputs for use in organic production.
Farmers and home gardeners may understandably be confused by this. If you prefer to use products that have been approved for use in organic production, which are generally naturally-derived instead of synthetically-derived, look for the Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) or the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) logos on the product. Products approved for use in organic production are also listed on these organizations’ websites.
Purchasing products with the OMRI or WSDA logos shows input manufacturers that it is important to both farmers and home gardeners that the inputs we purchase are gentle on people and the planet, and are in alignment with organic ecological principles.