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Federal and State Pesticide Registration Fees

While we would like to provide products throughout the US, the cost in a particular state sometimes becomes prohibitive.

All products labeled as pesticides and sold in the US, whether organic or synthetic, toxic or benign, must be registered by the manufacturer with the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Pesticide registration costs a flat fee of $3,000 per product, irrespective of type, profit from sales, toxicity, or size of company. However, the EPA offers exemptions for “minimal use” products — those that fill a small niche and are not likely to be used widely or to have broad environmental impact. Such exemptions, though rare, do give some economic relief to small companies making and selling organic products, like ours.

Individual states also require registration of manufacturers that wish to sell their products in state, but most do not offer exemptions. Like the fees charged by the federal government, these are usually flat fees, the same for both large and small manufacturers. State fees have been rising dramatically over the past few years (the most expensive is $750 per product per year) which can make selling in a particular state prohibitively expensive for small companies.

The flat fees adopted by both federal and state governments hit organic producers and distributors particularly hard, for two reasons. The first is that organic manufacturers and distributors tend to be smaller companies, yet they must pay the same fees paid by manufacturing giants.

Secondly, most organic pesticides are niche products that are produced in small quantities, since each targets a specific insect or type of insect. Thus an organic manufacturer, rather than producing mass quantities of a broad-spectrum pesticide with multiple targets (and a single registration fee) may produce a dozen pesticides, each with a specific target — and each requiring independent registration.

These registration fees get passed on to mail-order distributors (like ours) in the form of higher prices or, where deemed excessive, they do not get paid, with the result that the product cannot legally be sold.

If you feel that organic products should be exempt from pesticide registration, or that registration fees should be indexed to manufacturing quantities or to sales, please call the Department of Agriculture in your state and let your position be known.

We are sorry for any inconvenience these restrictions may cause.