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Use of Sodium Nitrate in Organic Crop Production

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.

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

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