NOP Ruling on Organic Cottonseed

There has been some concern about new varieties of cottonseed that are coming into the US, and if they can be used for organic cotton planting. There was a potential issue that the non-organic cottonseed may have been treated or delinted with a chemical not allowed in the National Organic Program (NOP) and potentially still be on the seedcoat when planted in an organic field.

NOP 5029-1 Response to Comments for the Seeds, Annual Seedlings, and Planting Stock guidance, Paragraph 5, Definition of “Priming” and Types of Treatments that Need Review, states: “We have also clarified that substances used during the production of non-organic seed or non-organic planting stock do not require review. This includes substances that may be used in post-harvest handling and cleaning of non-organic seed and planting stock, that do not remain on the seed when it is planted.”

“Therefore, so long as the material does not remain on the non-organic seed when it is planted, the seed would be allowed in organic production, provided it meets all other NOP requirements for non-organic seed.”

A specific example of this scenario includes non-organic cotton seed that has been delinted with sulfuric acid. Manufacturer affidavits should attest that the acid has been neutralized, and no longer remains on the seed when planted.

A big thanks to Brandi Chandler with TDA for getting this clarification on the rule from the National Organic Program.

Author: Bob Whitney, Regents Fellow & Extension Organic Specialist

Agriculturalist, extension educator and researcher, organic agriculture enthusiast and promoter, international program developer, Christian, husband, father and friend.

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