FARGO, N.D. — As the seed sales season gears up in earnest, the North Dakota State Seed Department reminds retailers they must meet minimum requirements to handle bulk certified seed.
“The Seed Department has received a number of calls from seed facility managers regarding the requirements to legally sell bulk certified seed at their facilities,” says Steve Sebesta, North Dakota State Seed Department deputy seed commissioner. “In some cases, those facilities already sell common seed of branded products such as corn or soybeans that are not typically certified.”
Sebesta adds, “While these facilities usually do a good job of meeting the requirements to properly sell those types of products, they are often unaware that handling certified seed has its own set of requirements and they may not simply add certified seed to their product line without some planning.”
In order to handle and sell certified seed, retailers must be inspected and approved by the North Dakota State Seed Department. Bulk retailers must meet certain minimum requirements for equipment and management practices to ensure compliance with state seed certification regulations, state seed laws and the Federal Seed Act.
A permit is required to operate as a certified seed bulk retail facility in North Dakota. Permits are issued on an annual basis following an inspection by a Seed Department inspector. Facility managers are under agreement to handle all seed and records according to certification rules and regulations.
In general, the agreement covers specific practices relating to handling bulk certified seed, record retention and compliance with state and federal seed laws, including Plant Variety Protection. Specific requirements for facility management can be found on the North Dakota State Seed Department website at.
Equipment requirements, although minimal, are in place to maintain the genetic and mechanical purity of the seed lot. Approved hopper bins must be equipped with bottom access ports or inside ladders to permit access for cleaning and annual regulatory sampling of seed that is offered for sale. Bins holding certified seed must be labeled properly with kind, variety, class and lot number.
All handling equipment, conveying equipment and bins must be cleaned thoroughly before any lot of certified seed is conveyed and stored at the facility. Augers must be reversible to facilitate cleaning between lots and varieties.
To ensure product purity, the number of physical moves is limited. Bulk certified seed may be moved only twice after final certification has been completed; the second move is to the farmer.
A completed bulk certificate must be issued for each load of bulk certified seed at the time of delivery to the farmer. That certificate constitutes the legal label required by state and federal seed laws.
Approved bulk certified seed facilities must maintain complete and accurate records for three years for all seed sold. A representative 2-pound sample of each seed lot sold by the facility must be retained for one year from the date of final disposition of the lot. Samples must be identified by kind, variety, class and lot number.
“The North Dakota State Seed Department promotes the use of high-quality certified seed,” says Sebesta. “And we believe retail facilities that offer certified seed to their customers play an important role in providing the best quality seed, with the newest genetics, to farmers.
Seed retailers interested in adding certified seed to their product line are encouraged to contact the North Dakota State Department at 701-231-5400 to learn more about the process of becoming an approved certified seed-handling facility.
— NDSU Agriculture Communication
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