In a follow-up to the previous article from The Sacramento Bee
(CA), “Organic Farms Unknowingly Used A Synthetic Fertilizer,” another large organic fertilizer maker has been found spiking its product with synthetic nitrogen.
In a raid last week, Port Organic Products Ltd. of Bakersfield, a major producer of fertilizer for California’s organic farmers, was searched. It is estimated they produced up to half of the liquid fertilizer used on California’s organic farms recently.
“Kern County records dating back to 2005 show Port Organic has stocked thousands of gallons of aqua ammonia, a common source of synthetic nitrogen.”
“The company’s fertilizers were ostensibly made from ground-up fish carcasses. But documents obtained by The Bee show that California Department of Food and Agriculture officials suspected the company of using synthetic nitrogen back in October 2007.”
“Port Organic is the latest in a series of fertilizer makers to be accused of passing off chemical fertilizers as organic.”
Why do they do it? It’s cheaper… and they’ve been able to get away with it for quite a while. “…synthetic nitrogen is as much as 20 times cheaper than approved nutrient sources such as ground-up fish and chicken feathers.” And it’s very difficult to detect with standard laboratory analyses.
Think this problem is limited to California? Doubtful. If it’s happening in California, it’s happening in other states. Not only that, but some of the spiked organic fertilizer is sold to other states. And food grown in California ends up on grocery shelves throughout the country.
The government has been allowing the industry to police itself – a practice that must have been taken from the “allowing the fox to guard the henhouse” model!
A Senate hearing will be held on Feb. 3 to look into the Department of Food and Agriculture’s slow responses. Maybe in a few years, they’ll come up with a solution… but then again, maybe not.
In the meantime, grow as much as you can yourself or find organic farmers at local farmer’s markets and visit their farms to see how they run their farms (I’ve done that a few times).
We have local llama and ostrich farms that practically give away as much poop farmers or home gardeners can shovel into a truck. Chicken manure is also great if the chickens are free range and eat naturally. Horse and cow manure has to sit a season before use or it will burn your plants.
Generally speaking, chicken and ostrich manure, bat guana or llama or rabbit poop is prefered to horse or cow manure.
Read full Sacramento Bee article: “Federal raid heightens concerns about fake organic fertilizer”