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AnnouncementSeptember 12, 2012

The National Organic Program (NOP) would like to share an important notice regarding the use of sodium nitrate in organic crop production.

Notice: Sodium Nitrate Use in Organic Crop Production 

Sodium Nitrate

Since sodium nitrate is a natural substance, it is allowed unless specifically prohibited in the USDA organic regulations. Those regulations currently state that sodium nitrate can only be used to provide 20 percent or less of a crop's total nitrogen requirement.

After the current restriction expires on October 21st, NOP expects continued compliance based on other sections of the USDA organic regulations.

Prior to October 21, 2012, operations must not:

  • Meet more than 20 percent of an organic crop's nitrogen requirement with sodium nitrate.
    Regulatory reference: 7CFR section 205.602(g)

On or after October 21, 2012, operations using sodium nitrate must still:

  • Maintain or improve the natural resources of the operation, including soil and water quality.
    Regulatory reference: 7CFR section 205.200
  • Comply with crop nutrient and soil fertility requirements. 
    Regulatory reference: 7CFR section 205.203

A proposed rule regarding the use of sodium nitrate is forthcoming. 

Notice: Sodium Nitrate Use in Organic Crop Production

About the National Organic Program (NOP)

The NOP facilitates trade and ensures integrity of organic agricultural products by consistently implementing organic standards and enforcing compliance with the regulations throughout the world. Learn more.

About the NOP Organic Insider

The NOP Organic Insider informs the organic community on a wide range of NOP functions, including organic standards, accreditation and international activities, compliance and enforcement, the National Organic Standards Board, training events, and the Cost Share program.


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