High nitrogen liquid fertilizers have been a controversial issue in organic farming in the past few years. In fact, one manufacturer of a high nitrogen liquid fertilizer has pled guilty to fraudulently adulterating product (Biolizer XN, made by Port Organics) with prohibited materials. Additional requirements now apply to high nitrogen liquid fertilizer use in organic production. The Directive from the National Organic Program (PDF) is available online.
As a result of this NOP directive, CCOF’s liquid fertilizer policy requires any liquid fertilizer product with a nitrogen claim greater than 3% to be approved by OMRI or WSDA. Use of any high nitrogen liquid fertilizer that has not been verified as compliant with the December 14, 2009, NOP guidance may put the certification of your operation, land, or products at risk. Read CCOF’s liquid fertilizer policy announcement.
Please be aware that you cannot use any input material in your organic production until it has been:
- Listed by OMRI/ WSDA AND added to your OSP Materials List by CCOF
- Submitted AND approved by CCOF, and added to your OSP Materials List. Use the CCOF Material Review Request Form.
Background on Liquid Fertilizer Issues
Per the directive published by the National Organic Program (NOP) on December 14, 2009, all manufacturers of high nitrogen liquid fertilizers must be inspected and approved in order for organic farmers to continue using their products. The NOP notice includes specific audit, approval, and other requirements for approving the use of liquid nitrogen fertilizers above 3% nitrogen. The previous 100-yard separation requirement between synthetic and non-synthetic nitrogen sources is removed under this guidance.
On February 20, 2009, the NOP released a notice stating that it was no longer confident that the liquid fertilizers Marizyme and Agrolizer, manufactured by Port Organic Products, Ltd., were in compliance with NOP regulations. The NOP then took additional steps to protect the organic community by requiring third party reviewers, such as OMRI, to implement a detailed audit and inspection protocol for all high nitrogen liquid fertilizers effective October 1, 2009. Read the full NOP announcement.
To provide supplemental information for CCOF's liquid fertilizer approval policy, we launched an initiative to test a variety of liquid fertilizers. This initiative tested Nitrogen Isotope Ratio in addition to other screens to help identify materials of increased concern. CCOF is currently supporting research being done by a UC Davis professor to develop improved testing and identification methodologies.
CCOF is extremely pleased that the NOP has taken these important steps to ensure the integrity of organic foods is protected. We have a long history of action regarding this issue and have advocated and spoken out strongly while working with a variety of regulators, clients, farmers, and manufactures to help protect organic growers and consumers. We have brought suspicious materials to the attention of several different bodies including WSDA, OMRI, and CDFA while keeping the NOP apprised of developments. For more information on this issue, read “Organic Liquid Fertilizers – Friend or Foe?” in the spring 2007 issue of CCOF’s Certified Organic magazine.
We will keep you informed of changes or developments as they arise by posting them in this area of the website. For a current list of materials recognized by CCOF as compatible with organic production, please visit the OMRI website or the WSDA website.
Download CCOF’s May 2009 Liquid Fertilizer Notice, which includes a list of prohibited materials.