Chapter 3

Approved Materials for Organic Farming

(book excerpts)

Materials that are used to produce and handle organic crops under the USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) must be selected for compliance and used in the context of organic principles for farming and handling practices. Whether a substance is allowed or not depends on the context. Some types of materials are integral to maintaining an organic system. Others may be used only when cultural, biological, mechanical, or physical methods are insufficient. In fact, the NOP requires that management practices must be implemented, and found to be insufficient, prior to the use of any input including soil-building crop rotations; sanitation measures to remove disease vectors, weed seeds, and pest habitat; selection of site-suitable and resistant plant species and varieties; release of pest predators and parasites; development of habitat for pest predators; lures, traps and repellants; mulching, mowing, grazing, mechanical, flame, and/or hand weeding; and cultural practices to prevent weed, pest and disease problems. Certified organic producers and handlers must use only materials that are approved for use according to the standards to which they will be certified. Prior to using any material, certified operations must include in their Organic System Plan (OSP) a list of all materials they use or plan to use, which is approved by their organic certifier.

Click on the following topics for more information on approved materials for organic farming.

Topics Within This Chapter:

  • Introduction to Approved Materials
  • The National List
  • Allowed and Prohibited Substances
  • Allowed Synthetic Materials
  • Inert Ingredients
  • Restrictions in Using Approved Substances
  • Organic System Plan
  • Removing or Amending Ingredients on the National List
  • Accredited Certifying Agents
  • Brand Name Materials Lists
  • Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI)
  • OMRI List
  • Washington State Department of Agriculture Organic Food Program
  • Review Process for Determining Compliance of Materials
  • Products with Multiple Reviews
  • Federal and State Product Labeling
  • References