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Fertilizer laws

Discussion in 'Organic Lawn Care' started by GroundKprs, Sep 13, 2003.

  1. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    The sale of fertilizer is covered under legislation in my state, as well as many others. What are your state regs on fertilizer sales? Can you, as a business, legally in your state sell your clients cornmeal as a fertilizer?

    In IN, any fertilizer seller must certify the nutrient content in what he is selling. I must state to the customer the gauranteed analysis (% by wt of N, P, K, and any other elements) of the product I deliver to him. Look at any fertilizer bag: there is a statement of gauranteed analysis.

    Where can I get cornmeal labeled with the gauranteed analysis? Or do I have to pay a lab to determine that for me on each lot of cornmeal purchased?
  2. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    I would say the guaranteed analysis is 100%corn.

    You can make muffins with it, it is animal feed, it is used in daycare centers for sensory play.

    The label on the bags i get say 'ROLLED CORN'.

    I dont see any reason for it to be labelled any other way.

  3. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Not asking for personal opinions, looking for legal, legitimate ways for a business to be organic. Probably half of the small operators in the green industry are black market economy - no insurance, no taxes, don't bother with laws. I don't care to go slumming in that area.

    The Indiana fertilizer law defines fertilizer thus:
    (1) Fertilizer material means any substance containing nitrogen, phosphate, potash, or any recognized plant nutrient that is used for its plant nutrient content and that is designed to have value in promoting plant growth. The term includes unmanipulated animal and vegetable manures.

    Law goes on to state that nutrient content must be listed as % of weight of product. So I ask again: Where can I get cornmeal labeled with the gauranteed analysis? Or do I have to pay a lab to determine that for me on each lot of cornmeal purchased?
  4. woodycrest

    woodycrest LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 435

    100% corn. i highly doubt that you will find a bag of corn with any other label than that. Maybe corn is not a 'recognized plant nutrient'.

    If you are that concerned about it then take some to a lab and pay them to determine the nutrient content. Corn is corn, one bag is the same as the other.

    Here try this link...

  5. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    Thanks, Dave, that is good list. But please reread and understand quote above from the IN law, especially the underlined phrase. Perhaps Canada is more liberal in letting people apply "fertilizers."

    I can do practically anything I want to the electric and plumbing systems in my home. My modifications may not stand up if code inspection is ever done, but I may think they're functional. But if I hire a plumber or electrician to do the modifications, and he is a legitimate, law abiding contractor, he is constrained by specific laws and regulations as to what he can offer to clients. He has to do the job in compliance with all laws and regulations affecting his trade. There is a world of difference between doing it for yourself and selling a service to others, and that includes fert and pest services, at least in this state.

    And "Corn is corn, one bag is the same as the other." is a rather rash statement. There are dozens (100s?) of varieties of corn. Doubt they are all exactly the same makeup of elements.

    So if I want to comply with the nutrient certification regulations of my state, I'm stuck with lab testing of each lot of cornmeal. Besides the "5 ton truck and forklift", I now need to let my product sit until the lab rates it (more business expense - inventory sitting and fees).

    Does anyone else have comment from a business perspective? Or perhaps this forum does not belong in the "Commercial" section of LawnSite?
  6. Enjoy Life Ronnie

    Enjoy Life Ronnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Any recognized plant nutrient that is used for its plant nutrient content and that is <B>designed</B> to have value in promoting plant growth.

    Corn meal was never designed or intended for anything except as a food product. However if you are using corn as a fertilizer I can see how you are breaking the letter of the law in your state unless you have it tested.

    I would hope your state would not require retesting every time you put down corn meal. That would be harressment... in my openion.

    But you just never know. It's kind of funny (and sad) the depths our goverment will go to to help a growing business to fail these days.
  7. trying 2b organic

    trying 2b organic LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 566

    Ya, classic eg. here in canada i couldnt sell apps of c.g.m. as organic weed and feed cause no-one had paid for the studies the govt. wanted to prove that it is a pre-emerg. now its registered and I still cant sell it as weed and feed cause to sell it as a pesticide, even though harmless I need to get a pesticide applicators licience and insurance, a cost savings I had heretofor enjoyed as a no pesticide company

    Why do you want to try to use corn meal, there is no way for a pro to apply it and it will attract birds and it looks like corn so people will be afraid to be the first one on the block to use it. For now I am paying the extra bucks for Turfmaize. Corn Gluten Meal the organic weed and feed. Mind u I am also the guy trying to figure out how I can save money by applying pellet alfalfa purchased by me as rabbit food instead of organic lawn fert. :)
  8. Enjoy Life Ronnie

    Enjoy Life Ronnie LawnSite Member
    Messages: 18

    Oh and by the way... used corn meal on my small lawn for the first time 4 weeks ago and I am pleased with the results. The back yard looks wonderful.

    Just hoping it works as well on BP as ya'll say. I haven't tryed it yet.

    Thanks ~RR
  9. GroundKprs

    GroundKprs LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,969

    CGM as a pre-em has been exempted in the USA from EPA pesticide registration. But you need to check with your own state on their regs for CGM use.

    Laws on fert and pest application were made to protect society from unscrupulous sales. Like most laws, they came into being because someone was ripping people off or causing harm to make a buck.
  10. Dchall_San_Antonio

    Dchall_San_Antonio LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 327

    ...and there is every reason to believe it will continue with unscrupulous organic providers. Corn meal could be adulterated with corn cobs and sold as whole ground corn unless some standards are applied. One Very well respected local organic supplier is selling a product that lists one ingredient as "compost tea." I went out to check on some other things with him and he volunteered to show me his compost tea maker. At best his product fits the definition of a compost leachate but would never be called a tea by today's definition. But until someone forces him to change the label, his bottles for the foreseeable future are already printed.

    I believe corn meal, as well as the rest of the ground grains grown around the world and used in North America, should be both tested and exempted, as appropriate. There is a chemical fertilizer/pesticide mafia (and I mean this in a professional, friendly, competitive way) that has a lot more money than any organic mafia (same comment). I believe if new laws come about governing (or exempting) the use of organic materials, they will come about either from the universities or from the citizens and be fought hard by the fertilizer mafia. The exemption for CGM may have been a fluke and be the last exemption ever granted.

    I checked around on various websites for the different states' laws regarding what is a fertilizer and from what I found, Indiana seemed to be alone in including corn meal type products as controlled materials. I'm sure there are others because I could not find any but a few of the state's statutes. But of those, none controlled corn meal.

    Regarding the NPK listed on labels of fertilizers, I believe the test results would show that for different batches of fertilizer, the NPK would assay to be different with each one. The numbers printed on the bag are undoubtedly government approved averages, just as the numbers printed on any organic fertilizer would be averaged. So once the averages for any pure products were established by testing, the label would carry those numbers regardless of the exact NPK in the bag. Sample tests, maybe 4 batches per year per supplier, would reconfirm the numbers and adjust as changes were needed. I could be dead wrong on this, but once I come to power, that's the way I'll do it. :D

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