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Emergency provisions can offset seed crop losses

Freezing temperatures over the Easter weekend not only had a serious impact on the winter wheat crop growing in a large portion of the central United States, but likely will reduce the amount of seed produced in certain varieties intended for planting the 2008 crop.

Fortunately, there is an emergency provision in seed certification rules that enables agencies to recertify the certified class of seed to help provide additional seed supplies to offset severe seed crop losses, according to the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies. AOSCA represents organizations across the United States and other countries responsible for certifying seed for all major agricultural crops.

“Certifying agencies work closely with the seed industry and occasionally we are asked to exercise the emergency option to recertify fields planted with the certified class of seed when it appears the current crop has suffered a major loss,” according to Larry Svajgr, executive director of the Indiana Crop Improvement Association and current president of the AOSCA board of directors.

“This appears to be the case with seed wheat this year. We want to help seed producers understand the requirements and steps necessary for our agencies to follow when considering requests for recertification.”

Seed producers wishing to apply for recertification under AOSCA procedures should first contact their local seed certifying agencies for assistance. If the agency approves the request and permits recertification of the certified class for specific wheat varieties, the seed producer will be required to provide evidence that such fields were planted with official certified class seed.

The owner of the variety must consent to its recertification. All other seed certification requirements, including land requirements, isolation distances, and varietal purity must be met. Production of an additional generation of certified seed is allowed for only one year when an emergency is declared by any official seed certifying agency. The additional generation of certified seed is not eligible for recertification.

“Seed producers are trying to assess the extent of damage and seed crop loss at this time,” said Chet Boruff, chief executive officer of AOSCA. “Our AOSCA agencies anticipate that requests for recertification may be submitted soon and we are prepared to respond as quickly as possible to help seed growers meet the demand for certified seed wheat”.

For further information about this program, a seed producer should contact the seed certifying agency in his state, AOSCA through its Web site at, or by calling (309) 736-0120.

Seed certification is a process including field inspections, seed testing, audits, and documentation that insures the quality and purity of seed purchased by farmers. AOSCA and seed certification agencies in the United States work closely with USDA to carry out the provisions of the Federal Seed Act pertaining to certified seed.

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