What soap is safe to use on organic food crops for insect control?
Answer: Organic farming requires any pest management materials used be in compliance with USDA’s National Organic Program (NOP) regulations and must be used in the context of organic principles for farming and handling practices. The Organic Materials Review Institute, OMRI, provides an independent review of products intended for use in certified organic production. After review, if substances are determined safe for organic use they are OMRI Listed.Safer Soap is OMRI listed and can be found at most farm supply stores. It can be mixed into solution with chili peppers and sprayed on plants to safely control insects on food crops. ATTRA’s Biorationals: Ecological Pest Management Database lists different materials by brand name, distributor, and whether it is OMRI Listed. It can be searched by pest type, pest name, active ingredient/beneficial organism, or pesticide trade name. In addition, ATTRA has produced an online learning tutorial titled Ecological Pest Management. The tutorial focuses on giving you tools to implement ecologically-based pest management strategies. The five lessons in this tutorial provide information on what ecological pest management is, how to get started, how to implement preventive strategies, biological controls, and how to use NCAT and ATTRA resources. There are also resources to help you develop your own ecological pest management strategy for your farm.ATTRA also has several publications that should interest you, including Tipsheet: Organic Pest Management and Biointensive Integrated Pest Management.