North Dakota Foundation Seedstocks


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NDAES Foundation Seed Policies

Foundation Seed Program

Operating Policies  -  August, 1996



The principal function of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station (NDAES) Seed Increase Program is to provide Foundation class seed for subsequent production of Registered and Certified class seed by the North Dakota seed industry. For this reason, and in the interest of better agriculture for North Dakota, only high quality seed will be produced and sold by NDAES through the North Dakota Foundation Seedstocks Project (FSS) and Research Centers (RC). Except for special conditions, such as seed shortages and new varieties, the seed produced and sold will be Foundation class seed unless specifically authorized by the Foundation Seedstocks Director (FSSD).


Director, Agricultural Experiment Station

  1. Has overall responsibility for the NDAES Foundation Seed Program.
  2. Establishes policy and has final authority for policy decisions.
  3. Encourages, promotes and assists Research Centers (RC) in following Seedstocks Policy and maintaining their conditioning facilities at optimum levels.

Chair, Plant Science Department

  1. Provides liaison between plant breeders and personnel associated with the Seed Increase Program.
  2. Chairs the Variety Pre-Release , Variety Release and Seed Price Committees.
  3. Responsible for appointing members to the Pre-Release, Variety Release, Seed Pricing, Seed Allocation and Seedstocks Planning and Advisory Committees.

Director, Foundation Seedstocks

  1. Has overall responsibility for the Foundation Seedstocks Project. Reports to the Plant Sciences Department Chair.
  2. Responsible for planning Breeder seed and Foundation seed production needs with the assistance of the Seedstock Planning and Advisory Committee.
  3. Chairs Seedstocks Planning and Advisory Committee and Seed Allocation Committee.
  4. Responsible for the production, conditioning and marketing of all seed provided by the NDAES Seed Increase Program and the NDSU Research Foundation (NDSURF) Wheat Program.
  5. Plans and conducts re-purification efforts for North Dakota varieties to maintain genetic purity.
  6. Plans and executes winter increases of all North DakotaState University varieties.
  7. Plans and coordinates production and delivery of malting barley carlot trials and other grain quality trials..
  8. Coordinates Interstate and International activities relating to NDAES seedstocks.
  9. Coordinates Plant Variety Protection requirements for the Plant Science Department.
  10. Consults with Plant Science Department Chair, agronomists, breeders, etc. for assistance as necessary.
  11. Develops and maintains a Seedstocks Production Handbook to be utilized by NDAES personnel involved in Foundation seed production. The handbook will provide guidelines and requirements for cultural practices, weed control, crop rotation, harvest, seed conditioning, etc. to be used in the production and marketing of Foundation seed.

Assistant Director, Foundation Seedstocks

  1. Reports of the Director, Foundation Seedstocks. Fulfill sthe above responsibilities when the Director is not available.
  2. Coordinates Foundation seed production of released NDSU varieties with RC Directors (RCD) and Director, Agronomy Seed Farm (ASF).
  3. Coordinates seed allocation and distribution of new variety releases to the County Crop Improvement Associations (CCIA) and the North Dakota Ag Association (NDAA).
  4. Represents FSS at CCIA activities relating to NDAES seedstocks.

Directors of Research/Extension Centers and Agronomy Seed Farm

  1. Cooperate with FSS in production of Foundation seed to satisfy the Foundation seed needs for North Dakota.
  2. Ensure that all requirements of North Dakota Seed Certification Standards, Bulletin No. 51 and NDAES policies are fulfilled with regard to the production, handling and marketing of Foundation seed.
  3. Enter seed orders into the NDAES Foundation Seedstocks Database in a timely manner.
  4. Ensure that seed purchasers sign an affidavit as part of the order confirmation that the seed will be increased and sold as Registered or Certified class seed.
  5. Process, collect and deposits funds derived from the sale of seed at the RC.


The North Dakota State Seed Commissioner and Foundation Seedstocks Project support the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) policies with regard to the limitation of generations. The aid and advice of the North Dakota State University (NDSU) plant breeder will be used as necessary to define the standards of the crop.

Seed classes defined by AOSCA which will be recognized by the Seedstocks Project include:

BREEDER SEED is seed or vegetative propagating material directly controlled by the originating, or in certain cases, the sponsoring plant breeder, institution, or firm, and which supplies the source for the initial and recurring increase of Foundation seed.

FOUNDATION SEED shall be seedstocks that are handled so as to most nearly maintain specific genetic identity and purity equal to Breeder seed. Production must be carefully supervised and approved by the certifying agency and/or agricultural experiment station.

REGISTERED SEED shall be the progeny of Foundation seed that is handled so as to maintain satisfactory genetic identity and purity and has been inspected and certified by the certifying agency. This class of seed should be of a quality suitable for production of Certified seed.

CERTIFIED SEED shall be the progeny of Foundation or Registered seed that is handled so as to maintain satisfactory genetic identity and purity and has been inspected and certified by the certifying agency. At the request of the NDAES Director and discretion of the certifying agency, Certified seed may be the progeny of Certified class seed for one generation, if the supply shortage is deemed to be an emergency situation.


1. Seed for new variety increases by an RC will be supplied by the FSS from production at the ASF, other RC, the winter increase program, other states or other countries.

2. The plant breeder will provide FSS and North Dakota State Seed Department (NDSSD) with a description of each new or potential variety including identification of variants.

3. Production of seed for new variety increases will be under the supervision of the Assistant Foundation Seedstocks Director in concert with RCD's.

4. A Seedstocks Planning and Advisory Committee appointed by the Plant Sciences Department Chair will assist in the determination of the anticipated seed production requirements for released varieties. The committee, chaired by the Director, FSS will consist of at least two RC Directors, two seed grower/dealers and two Extension Agronomists. Committee will meet annually prior to December 31.

5. Each RC will fulfill the land requirements and field standards specified by FSS and NDSSD, respectively. Land requirements may include production by contract growers in the vicinity.

6. RC Directors will select planting sites for seed increases with consideration for the requirements necessary for certification, crop rotation and other agronomic considerations.

7. The NDSSD ensures that standards for field inspection are enforced. The passage or failure of a seed field under control of FSS will be based on rigid compliance with seed certification standards and not on the availability of seed or the individual or organization producing the seed (See North Dakota Seed Certification Standards, Bulletin No. 51, Appendix 2).

8. When seed production is required beyond the capacity of RC's, FSS and/or RC Directors will select and supervise contract growers. Production from such contracts will be conditioned by the contracting RC or at an approved seed conditioning plant. Application for field inspection on contracted land will be by either FSS or the RC, who is responsible for completion of all seed requirements.

9. The decision on whether to increase experimental lines which will be released by other states will be determined by the FSS, Plant Sciences Department Chair, an Extension Agronomist and appropriate plant breeder with input from other specialists on plant diseases and quality characteristics.

10. Seed for new varieties released by another state or agency which are not increased through the NDAES system, may be made available by contacting FSS. Information on the availability and varietal performance will be provided by FSS on an annual basis or upon request.

11. The decision to discontinue the increase of varieties in the Seed Increase Program will be made by the Seedstocks Planning and Advisory Committee with concurrence by RC Directors.


1. The best fields meeting field standards for certification will be selected for seed increase.

2. All practices for maximum crop production will be performed including the use of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, when necessary. The FSS along with extension agronomists will develop seed production guidelines and requirements for cultural practices, weed control, rotation, harvesting procedures, etc. All NDAES personnel involved in seed production for the AES system will be expected to follow the guidelines (See Production Handbook).

3. Field isolation and roguing will be the joint responsibility of the RC and FSS. Each RC will assume the leadership, responsibility and cost of labor for roguing. FSS assistance will be provided where unusual purity problems exist. The advice of the breeder may also be solicited if a North Dakota variety is involved.

4. An RC may be required to rogue small acreages for seed which will serve as seedstock for another RC. The goal should always be to have Foundation seed no more than two or three generations from Breeder seed. New or repurified seed for increase will be provided at cost by FSS. Seed produced on the RC may be reseeded for further increase.

5. Seed returned in late spring from a winter increase usually will be sown at the more northern stations.


All seed should be conditioned to meet the highest purity, germination and vigor standards possible. Seed may be sold as "substandard" for germination when necessary but only with prior approval of FSS.

  1. All seed will be Foundation class unless it cannot be conditioned to meet Foundation class standards, in which case, Registered seed may be sold. Foundation seed will not be retagged or sold as Registered or Certified seed by RC.
  2. "Cleanout" from seed conditioning will be sold at the elevator with loss of identity unless the germplasm is so limited or valuable that all possible viable seed should be salvaged. In such emergencies, it shall be the duty of FSSD to specify conditioning procedures to follow in order to salvage the maximum amount of viable seed. All seed conditioning plants will be notified by the FSSD prior to August 15 (prior to cleaning) when the maximum amount of viable seed must be salvaged.
  3. Foundation seed conditioned at locations other the RC will be in accord with the Foundation Seed Processing Protocol. Supervision of the conditioning will be FSS or the RCD located nearest to the conditioning plant.
  4. When an emergency seed shortage exists for a variety, planting at a minimum seed rate may be required to maximize production. Those RC's having the facilities, irrigation capability or other cultural conditions which would maximize the seed production will be given priority.


Distribution of new varieties and those under contract:

  1. Seed of new varieties produced at the RC or the ASF will be allocated to CCIA and the NDAA by FSS.
  2. Allocation of seed to CCIA and NDAA will be completed as soon as possible following the official decision of release. When seed supply is limited, allocation may be delayed. Allocation of quantities and recipient counties will be determined by a committee chaired by FSS and will include, as a minimum, the Plant Sciences Department Chair, an Extension Agronomist (1), a RC Director (1), a County Extension Agent (1) and North Dakota Crop Improvement Association (NDCIA) Directors representing each of the four districts.
  3. Individual growers obtaining seed of newly released varieties will grow such seed only under contract with CCIA or NDAA.
  4. When seed supply of new varieties is limited, seed allocations may not be made to all CCIA that requested seed. Under these circumstances, a State-wide Pool will be established by reserving 30% of the Registered seed production from CCIA that received an initial allocation of seed. Seed from the State-wide Pool will be redistributed among CCIA that did not receive an initial allocation. The CCIA will provide data to FSS on the quantity available to the state-wide pool by December 15.
  5. Growers selected to produce malting barley in carlot amounts will produce seed only under contract with FSS and American Malting Barley Association (AMBA) in quantities specified by the contract.
  6. When a variety in under "contract", no seed will be sold except to those specified in the contract.
  7. Some seed may be allocated to other states under cooperative agreements according to ESCOP.
  8. No seed may be sold outside of the United States until plant breeders rights have been applied for and licensing agreements have been negotiated by the NDSU Research Foundation.

Older Varieties and Those Not Under Contract

  1. The data relating to the distribution of established varieties will be maintained on the NDAES computerized ordering system (NDAES Seedstocks Database) maintained by FSS. RC personnel will update orders on the computer so as to maintain a current inventory of available seed.
  2. Foundation seed orders will be taken until December 1 only from established certified seed growers. The RCD will ensure that each seed purchaser signs an affidavit as part of the order confirmation process that the seed will be grown for the purpose of producing Registered and/or Certified class seed. Producers who do not comply with the signed affidavit will not be allowed to purchase Foundation seed for a period of five years. Producers who do not choose to sign the affidavit will not be eligible to place seed orders until after December 1 providing supplies of seed are still available. A deposit will be required when the order is placed.
  3. Individual orders for established varieties will be limited to 400 bushels or not more than 10% of the total production, if seed supplies are not sufficient to fill all orders placed prior to December 1. The limitation will be removed on December 1 and any remaining seed will be sold on a first-come-first-served basis.


1. The Seedstocks Price Committee consisting of the Director, NDAES; Director, FSS; Chairman, Plant Sciences Department; Director, ASF; an RC Director; an Extension Agronomist; Extension Marketing Economist; a County Extension Agent; and a seed industry representative will meet annually to establish Foundation seed prices for the following 12 months. The Chair of Plant Sciences will appoint members.

2. The Seedstocks Price Committee will meet annually prior to October 1 to set seed prices and establish the Foundation Seedstocks Check-off Fee and Infrastructure Levy for all crops. The FSS will revise and distribute seed price and fee schedules as necessary.

3. A Foundation Seedstocks Check-off Fee and Infrastructure Levy will be collected from all Foundation seed sales. The Foundation Seedstocks Check-off Fee will be deposited into the Foundation Seedstocks Project account for support of operations. The Infrastucture Levy will be deposited in the appropriate account with funds designated for upgrading the seed conditioning, handling and delivery facilities at the Agronomy Seed Farm and RC.

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