Extension and Ag Research News


N. D. State Seed Department to Survey Seed Producers

Many seed companies, independent seed producers and farmers are questioning whether there will be a sufficient supply of good-quality seed available for planting in 2008.

Inventory management has become an important issue this winter because high commodity prices have many seed companies, independent seed producers and farmers questioning whether there will be a sufficient supply of good-quality seed available for planting in 2008, according to Steve Sebesta, North Dakota State Seed Department deputy commissioner. In response, the North Dakota State Seed Department is conducting a survey of small-grain seed producers to assist the seed industry with inventory management issues this spring.

“High market prices have enticed some producers to sell seed to the elevator, which results in a reduction in available seed this spring,” Sebesta says. “A significant reduction in the inventory of legal seed could lead to illegal seed transactions that will have significant legal ramifications.”

Most small-grain varieties available to farmers are protected by a federal law, the Plant Variety Protection Act. Along with PVP, most variety owners opt for additional protection under the Title V provision. The Title V option states that a variety may be sold only as a class of certified seed. Seed certification provides the seed buyer and the variety owner assurances that the seed has been produced, conditioned and handled to meet or exceed certain standards for genetic purity and quality.

Only seed that has been field inspected and lab tested by an official certification agency may be issued certified seed tags or bulk certificates. This is the only way a purchaser can be assured the seed meets certification standards and is legal.

“Tight inventories of popular varieties may entice some in possession of uncertified seed to risk selling it to neighbors or others as brown-bagged seed,” Sebesta says. “Brown bagging is considered by some as a way to circumvent the legal process of seed sales. However, the Seed Department warns that violators of PVP laws may be fined up to $5,000 per violation, and those fines can extend to the seller, the conditioner, the buyer or anyone who assists in the unauthorized sale of protected varieties.”

The Seed Department survey is designed to support the seed industry by identifying potential inventory shortages, assist sellers in pricing their products competitively, assist seed producers with 2008 production plans and assist variety owners in management decisions.

Seed producers can expect the survey the week of Jan. 7.

NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Steve Sebesta (701) 231-5400, ssebesta@state-seed.ndsu.nodak.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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