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Update on Allowance of Sodium Nitrate for Crop Production

by Jon Knapp |

Sodium (Chilean) nitrate is currently allowed for use only so long as it is not more than 20% of the crops total nitrogen needs. This material is scheduled to sunset (come off) the list of prohibited natural materials in October. The National Organic Standards Board has recommended that it be relisted as completely prohibited; however, proposed rulemaking has not yet occurred, meaning that final rulemaking will not be achieved before the October deadline. The material will then come off the list and will be allowed without a specific restriction on quantity. The NOP published Notice 12-1 on September 11, 2012, to explain how operations using sodium nitrate should proceed. While sodium nitrate will be allowed in organic crop production after October 21, 2012, the NOP has reminded operations that they must still comply with the requirements to maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation (NOP 205.200) and comply with crop and nutrient and soil fertility requirements (NOP 205.203). If you plan to use sodium nitrate after October 21, 2012, in amounts greater than 20% of the crops total nitrogen needs, you will need to update your Organic System Plan to describe how you meet the other soil and nutrient requirements of the NOP. Please contact the CCOF Grower Department if you have questions.