Fargo, North Dakota
April 26, 2006
With spring planting beginning in
many areas of the state, many producers are finding it difficult
to find seed of the varieties they desire. The problems caused
by Fusarium head blight (scab) in small grains in 2005 has
created a large demand for public and private varieties that
provide a high level of tolerance to the pathogen, according to
Sebesta, North Dakota
State Seed Department deputy commissioner. Wheat varieties,
such as Alsen, Glenn and Freyr are in high demand and sales
reportedly have been brisk.
The North Dakota State Seed Department has received a number of
calls from individuals inquiring whether they legally may sell
or purchase certain varieties and what restrictions may be in
Most of the calls have dealt with the desire to sell seed of
varieties that are protected under the Title V provision of the
Plant Variety Protection Act.
"According to federal law, all varieties protected by PVP Title
V only may be sold by variety name and as a class of certified
seed," Sebesta says. "A number of individuals have inquired
whether seed from a field that was not inspected by the North
Dakota State Seed Department during the previous production year
now could be certified and sold as seed. The short answer is no.
In order to be legal for sale, a variety protected by PVP Title
V must be certified by an official state certifying agency."
Certification requirements vary by crop, but there are two key
components to producing certified seed. First, the production
field must be inspected by a North Dakota Seed Department
inspector during the growing season. Providing the field passes
inspection, a representative sample of clean seed must be tested
at the department lab to determine whether the seed lot meets
the minimum standards for purity, germination, and in some
cases, seed-borne diseases. Seed lots that meet or exceed these
standards then may be labeled as certified seed.
"Violations of PVP laws can result in fines of up to $5,000 per
violation," Sebesta says. "Additionally, variety owners may seek
compensation up to three times the damages, which include the
value of the seed sold and the value of the crops produced from
the illegally sold seed. That multiplying effect can result in
hefty fines. It also is illegal for seed conditioners to
knowingly clean seed of a protected variety for unauthorized
Most crop varieties released today are protected by PVP Title V,
so it is important for producers and sellers to confirm the PVP
status of a variety before buying or selling a specific variety.
A certified seed tag or bulk certificate is the buyer's
assurance that the seed conforms to the field and seed standards
of the North Dakota State Seed Department and is legal for sale.
For more information about plant variety protection or to check
the PVP status of a variety, call the North Dakota State Seed
Department at (701) 231-5400.