Comments, review sought on proposed fertilizer rules

BISMARCK – Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring is asking for public comment on proposed rules on the composition of commercial fertilizers and containment of liquid fertilizers.

“The proposed rules on fertilizer composition are intended to assure both fertilizer consumers and dealers that the products they buy contain the minimum level of nutrients stated on the label,” Goehring said. “A set of reasonable industry standards for variances in product composition and micronutrient label claims also benefits fertilizer manufacturers.” Goehring said the proposed rules are based on national standards established by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials (AAPFCO).

“The proposed language in the containment rules establishes requirements for primary and secondary containment of liquid fertilizer products,” Goehring said. “The requirements for primary containment would cover liquid fertilizer held in undivided quantities greater than 55 gallons. Requirements for secondary containment affect only fertilizer distributors and would apply when liquid fertilizer is held in undivided quantities greater than 2,500 gallons for a period longer than 30 days.”

Primary containment refers to a liquid fertilizer tank and all of the associated hoses, valves, and other appurtenances attached to a storage container. Secondary containment refers to structures, such as dikes, that contain spills or releases from a storage container.  The proposed rules give distributors several options for secondary containment, including diking, elephant rings and double-walled tanks.

“The intent of the proposed rules is to prevent future spills and releases and to help ensure that any fertilizer releases at distributors are captured in secondary containment,” Goehring said. “With the increased attention on nutrients and water quality, implementing the containment requirements helps assure the public that agriculture and the fertilizer industry are mitigating risk and are committed to soil and water stewardship.”

Goehring urged interested persons and businesses to review and offer comments on the proposed rules, which are available, together with frequently-asked questions and answers, on the North Dakota Department of Agriculture website at or by contacting the department.

People can submit comments by telephone at 701-328-1508 or by email at Comments can also be mailed to: North Dakota Department of Agriculture, Attn: Agriculture Commissioner Goehring, 600 E Boulevard Ave Dept 602, Bismarck, ND 58505-0200

The deadline for submitting comments is Feb. 13, 2014. Goehring has also scheduled a public hearing on the proposed rules for 1 p.m., Monday, Feb. 3, 2014, in the Brynhild Haugland Room of the State Capitol in Bismarck.