Newtrient LLC and NMPF recently submitted comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) about the suitability of manure-based ammonia extract as a fertilizer for organic crop production. On average, U.S. dairy farms import about 60 percent of their feed which leads to excess nitrogen and/or phosphorus compared to crop needs requiring some farms to export manure off the farm to comply with their nutrient management plan. There are a number of processes which can fractionate manure into nutrients which can make exportation of nutrients easier including processes which result in an aqueous ammonia fertilizer.
The NOSB has received a petition to prohibit manure-based ammonia extract as a fertilizer for organic crop production. The NOSB crops subcommittee reviewed the petition and requested comment on a number of scientific questions.
The joint Newtrient-NMPF comments addressed the scientific questions through a white paper, “The Role of Manure-Based Aqua Ammonia for Expanding Organic Crop Production and Improving Soil Health”, developed by consultants Jerry Hatfield, Ph.D. (retired USDA Agricultural Research Service). Our comments also pointed to the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, USDA NOP Guidance of Classification of Material, and USDA NOP Guidance Decision Tree for Classification of Materials as Synthetic or Nonsynthetic as the underlying law and USDA processes which USDA NOP should follow to determine when a fractionated manure-based product can be used in organic production.
The NOSB will make a recommendation on the petition to prohibit manure-based ammonia extract as a fertilizer for organic crop production at its meeting later this month. NOSB recommendations are provided to USDA NOP which will make a determination. Any prohibition of manure-based ammonia extract as a fertilizer for organic crop production will be subject to notice and comment through the Federal Register.