Materials and inputs

#Fertilizers and micronutrients

Organic farmers are required to manage soil fertility and crop nutrients in a way that maintains or improves soil organic matter content. Approved methods include, but are not limited to, crop rotations, cover crops, and the incorporation of plant and animal materials into soil. All fertilizers and soil amendments must be included in your Organic System Plan and approved by OTCO.

Fertilizers
When asking, “Can I use this fertilizer or material?” it is critical that you focus on product composition. You must follow the same guidelines for materials, observing all approved product restrictions and prohibitions per the National List. In searching for an approved fertilizer, keep in mind a few basic considerations:

  • Compost made from sewage sludge (human waste/bio-solids) or fortified with synthetic fertilizers is prohibited
  • Chemical fertilizers — particularly macronutrient nitrogen, phosphate or potash — on a fertilizer product label indicate the product is prohibited for use in organic production
  • All ammonia fertilizers and most nitrate fertilizers are prohibited
  • Super- and triple-phosphate fertilizers are prohibited
  • Highly soluble natural fertilizers are restricted
  • Not all sources of lime are permitted — mined limestone (calcium carbonate) and dolomite (magnesium carbonate) are allowed, while quicklime (calcium oxide), burnt dolomite (magnesium oxide), slaked lime (calcium hydroxide), and milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) are prohibited
  • Stabilized liquid fish products, aquatic plant extracts and humic acid derivatives are permitted for use with restrictions

Alert

Do not risk jeopardizing your certification. A label may not disclose all of the product’s ingredients. For all non-OMRI or non-WSDA approved materials, follow the process to request approval for use. Never use an unapproved material until after OTCO review and receipt of approval.

Using micronutrients
Synthetic micronutrients are allowed only if you can provide documentation of a soil deficiency of the nutrient in question. We accept soil or plant tissue tests as documentation prior to approval for use. In addition, you must document the nutrient requirements for the crop.

Do not risk jeopardizing your certification. A label may not disclose all of the product’s ingredients. For all non-OMRI or non-WSDA approved materials, follow the process to request approval for use. Never use an unapproved material until after OTCO review and receipt of approval.

#Manure and compost

Using and making plant-based compost
Compost is only required to meet the rule’s composting requirements (see below) if it has animal materials. For compost without animal materials, be sure to prevent contamination by not using any plant waste that has been adversely treated or would spread contamination.

Using and making compost with animal materials
When using compost with animal materials, observe the following requirements:

  • The initial ratio of Carbon (C) to Nitrogen (N) must be between 25C:1N and 40C:1N
  • When composting by in-vessel or using an static aerated pile system, compost temperature must be kept for three (3) days between 131 degrees Fahrenheit and 170 degrees Fahrenheit
  • When composting using a windrow system, compost temperature must be kept for 15 days between 131 degrees Fahrenheit and 170 degrees Fahrenheit and be turned over at least five times
  • Keep clear, auditable records of your composting process including date/time, temperature, and turning information

Using off-farm sourced compost with animal materials
You will need a statement with ingredients (feedstocks), time, temperature and pile turnings to show it meets all requirements.

Alert

Do not risk jeopardizing your certification. Material labels often do not disclose all of the product’s ingredients. For all non-OMRI or non-WSDA approved materials, follow the process to request approval for use. Never use an unapproved material until after OTCO review and receipt of approval.

Raw manure
You can use raw animal manure — fresh manure not added to a compost process — in following scenarios:

  • No restrictions for applications with crops not for human consumption
  • Must be applied for at least 120 days before the harvest date if the crop is for human consumption and the edible part touches soil surfaces or particles
  • Must be applied for at least 90 days before the harvest date if the crop is for human consumption but the edible part does not touch soil surfaces or particles

You must clearly document and record all application processes and timelines for verification.

Livestock grazing near crops to be harvested
Livestock grazing is allowed on certified organic land and follows the same rules (see above) for raw manure. Animals must be removed either 90 or 120 days prior to harvest depending on if the edible part of the crop comes into contact with soil or not. You must clearly document and record the grazing process and timeline for verification.

Using off-farm sourced manure
For off-farm manure, you will need a statement from the supplier for all ingredients — including any additives, bedding, inoculants, anti-caking/flow agents, etc. — to show it doesn’t contain prohibited materials per the National List.

Forms & Documents

Please note: If you applied for certification using our Online OSP via SOW Organic, you can make all of your OSP updates and requests through your account. All others should download the above and submit it to <http://www.privatedaddy.com/?q=eVZhQnlke35-2BGRVHUkFWGwl9Wj9EB2BSRkRD_19>.

#Seed and seed treatments

Farmers are required to use certified organic seed, except when they can document and demonstrate that an equivalent certified organic seed is not commercially available. Cost is not a valid reason for commercial unavailability.

Conventional or non-organic seed are never allowed for use if the end product is edible sprouts. Documentation that all edible sprout seeds are certified organic, untreated, or treated with only approved materials is required.

When seed is commercially unavailable (e.g., an inability to purchase organic seed in the appropriate form, quality or quantity) non-organic, non-GMO, untreated or treated with only approved materials seed is permitted for use. You must:

  • Provide a complete commercial availability search documentation and records
  • Search at least three appropriate sources of organic seeds
  • Demonstrate that no equivalent variety with similar characteristics is available in the form, quality, or quantity needed
  • Provide non-GMO verification for non-organic at-risk varieties (e.g., corn, soy, canola, etc.)
  • Provide verification that any disinfectants and inoculants used were allowed materials

Seed treatments
Seeds treated with prohibited materials are not allowed. You must verify if a seed treatment is acceptable per the National List using the Organic Materials Review Institute or the Washington State Department of Agriculture lists of allowed materials to find approved seed treatments.

All other seed treatments require OTCO verification and approval prior to purchase or use.

#Treated wood

Treated wood (lumber) is not allowed for new installations or replacement when in contact with soil or livestock. For organic crop and livestock producers with pre-existing buildings or fencing constructed of treated lumber, these structures may be “grandfathered in” and will not need to be removed.

Using treated wood products for construction on your operation will result in a noncompliance. And potential loss of certification for the impacted parcel and/or crop.

Alert

Treated wood is prohibited for use in:

  • Building a pasture farrowing hut, a cattle feed bunk or a shelter
  • Building feed or crop storage areas
  • Fencing (e.g., posts, etc.) in livestock pastures, holding, or confining areas
  • Supporting (e.g., posts, plant stakes, hoophouses, etc.) on-site structures

Treated wood that is isolated from organic production — such as wooden building materials that are not in direct contact with either livestock or crops — might not be prohibited, but could be restricted in its applications. OTCO requires a buffer zone to prevent contamination,— for example, you may require a barrier of some sort between the post and its surroundings. There is zero allowance for any wood treated with creosote.

Get Forms & Documents

Download the documents and forms you need.

Access Blank Forms

Still need help?

Our team is here to assist you.

Contact Support