Can hog slurry manure from a lagoon be used as organic fertilizer?

T.R.NebraskaAnswer: The National Organic Program Regulations state that organic producers must manage manure in a manner that does not contribute to the contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, heavy metals, or pathogenic organisms and that optimizes recycling of nutrients. This statement implies that manure handling, storage, and application to fields are all important. Unless properly handled, manure can be a health issue for livestock and people. Accumulated manure can breed insects, generate high levels of ammonia gas, and spread diseases. The National regulations do not specify handling procedures, only that the system used cannot compromise the organic integrity.The National Organic Program does not differentiate among livestock manure sources. However, the NOP regulations do require that livestock manure not contain any synthetic substances not included on the National List of synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production. Manures from conventional systems are allowed in organic production, including manure from livestock grown in confinement and from those that have been fed GMO feeds. Manure sources containing excessive levels of pesticides, heavy metals, or other contaminants may be prohibited from use. Such contamination is most likely with manure obtained from industrial scale confinement systems, including slurry manure. Certifiers may require testing for these contaminants if there is reason to suspect a problem.In conventional lagoon systems, stabilizing chemicals are frequently added. Be certain that the products used are an allowed stabilizer for organic management. Consult your certifier when in doubt.Certified organic producers have strict guidelines to follow in handling and applying manure. The National Organic Program regulations require raw animal manure be incorporated into the soil not less than 120 days prior to the harvest of a product whose edible portion has direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles, and be incorporated into the soil not less than 90 days prior to harvest of a product whose edible portion does not have direct contact with the soil surface or soil particles.Related ATTRA Publications:Organic Farm Certification and the National Organic ProgramManures for Organic Crop Production
Soil Management: National Organic Program Regulations