Farmers and homeowners alike rely on seed and fertilizer labeling to determine which products to use and the proper application rates. The Department’s commodities program ensures that seed, fertilizer, soil inoculants, and lime sold in New York State are true to their labeling. Products found in violation may be pulled from the market and additional penalties may apply.

There are numerous New York State laws, regulations, and forms related to labeling, licenses, inspections, and reporting required for the sale of seed, fertilizer, lime, and plant inoculants. Learn more below.



The Department licenses fertilizer companies as Commercial Fertilizer Distributors. Individual fertilizer only products are not registered or licensed individually.

The business name which appears on and which guarantees the product contents on the fertilizer label must be licensed. The license fee is $150 for a two year period. All licenses expire on December 31 of each even numbered year. License fees are not prorated. The license fee is always $150 independent of the time of application. Licenses are not transferable and license fees are not refundable.

If additional fertilizer products are to be sold under a current valid license, you may send a copy of the label(s) and a letter stating you wish to add fertilizer products under your current license.

The labels are reviewed for compliance. If the label information is in violation of Article 10 (NYS Fertilizer Law) you will then be requested to revise it for compliance or the product label will not be approved of for distribution of the product. Please indicate a contact e-mail address in the correspondence.

If a fertilizer product also contains microorganism beneficial to plant growth such as bacteria, mycorrhizae, or fungi, it will need an additional and separate soil and plant inoculant license.

Additionally, retailers who sell fertilizer must display phosphorus-containing fertilizer separately from phosphorus-free fertilizers and post a sign near the display.

laws relating to fertilizer 

Regulations relating to fertilizer

Fertilizer Tonnage Reporting



Plant and Soil Inoculants

The soil and plant inoculant license is issued per individual brand. Each product brand which contains a microorganism(s) needs a separate soil and plant inoculant license. This is unlike the Commercial Fertilizer Distributor License in which the “labeler” of the fertilizer is licensed to distribute commercial fertilizer. Each product or brand with a microorganism(s) claim will need its own individual soil and plant inoculant license.

There is no fee for a soil and plant inoculant license. The soil and plant inoculant license expires on December 31 of an even numbered year. When filling out the soil and plant inoculant license application, the guaranteed analysis section is referring to the microorganism(s) claims in the product. Include the soil and plant inoculant product label with the application.

All paper applications are two pages. Please complete in full, sign the application, and send the paper application to the Department for processing. Include the license fee payment when applicable and copies of the fertilizer and/or inoculant product labels for review. When submitting the Credit Card Authorization form, please sign with an original ink signature. Do NOT fax or email copies of the applications. Should you fail to provide all the requested information and a signature, your application will not be processed.

Laws relating to plant and soil inoculants

Ammonium Nitrate

The potential use of chemical fertilizers, particularly ammonium nitrate and anhydrous ammonia, in the production of weapons of mass destruction and in the illegal manufacture of drugs has heightened concern with respect to their regulation and onsite security.

Any person or entity in New York State that sells, offers for sale, or otherwise makes available ammonium nitrate or regulated ammonium nitrate materials is required to register annually with the Department. All purchasers must provide proper identification and background information before purchasing ammonium nitrate or ammonium nitrate products. All sales records must be retained for a two year period and be available for inspection by the Department or the New York State Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services.

Ammonium nitrate and ammonium nitrate materials must be stored in a secure location. Daily inspections by the establishment operators for attempted entry, vandalism, and structural integrity are required. There are currently ten establishments registered as ammonium nitrate retailers.

Regulations relating to Ammonium Nitrate