Using non-organic seed

When certified organic seed is not commercially available, you may be able to use non-organic, untreated (e.g., no application of a prohibited substance such as a fungicide) seed to produce an organic crop.

What do I need to do to be eligible to use non-organic seed?

You must document your unsuccessful commercial availability search from at least three trusted and reasonable sources for review and OTCO approval prior to using non-organic seed. All inputs used on the seed, such as pelleting or coating, must be approved by OTCO prior to use.

What does untreated mean for non-organic seeds?

A seed must not have any applications of prohibited substances (e.g., fungicide).

What will happen if I use treated seeds?

The short answer is: never used treated seeds without first verifying the treatment is approved by OTCO. Even unintended use of seeds treated with prohibited materials will prevent certification or cause the loss of certification of those production areas. The impacted production area(s) will be removed from certification for three years.

Are any seeds or planting stock always prohibited from use, even when organic versions are not available?

Genetically engineered seeds and seed inoculants are never allowed for use.

Are there any seeds that must always be certified organic?

Organic seeds must be used for edible sprouts without exception.


Learn more about C-R View Dairy Farm’s best practices for seed sourcing in our Lessons Learned series on recordkeeping.

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