Seed certification is a
limited generation program for assuring the genetic purity of seed. The variety of a crop
from which certified seed is to be produced must first be accepted for certification. It
may be submitted by plant breeders in public or private organizations. Acceptance is based
on data and information that substantiate claims by the plant breeder and shows the
variety to be uniform and adapted to the region of production.
The first seed of a new variety, grown under the supervision of the plant
breeder, is called Breeder seed. The generation grown from the Breeder seed is know as
Foundation in the United States. Generations are limited to maintain seed purity.
Certified seed is normally made available only to growers who produce what
are considered commercial seed classes. The normal progression of these classes is
Foundation - Registered - Certified. Under this system, genetic purity standards are
strictest in earlier generations to prevent unacceptable frequencies of off-types in later
generations. During field inspections the initial out-crosses are often more easily
distinguishable from true to type plants.
Certified classes must be produced in a manner that meets the standards of
a certification agency. While requirements of the various certification agencies may vary
slightly, they always will meet or exceed national standards.
Farmers or growers who wish to produce Certified seed must apply to the
certification agency in their state. Seed crops are inspected while growing in the field
for compliance with standards for genetic purity and isolation.
Seed harvesting, storage and conditioning must be done in a manner to
prevent contamination and insure varietal purity. Samples of the seed are laboratory
tested for physical, genetic, and viability quality. After all requirements are met
certification labels are printed for seed containers or made available to accompany bulk
OSIA coordinates its members'
activities. It establishes minimum standards for seed certification and supervises
compliance by member agencies. Standards are established for:
Classes of certified seed
Standards for varietal purity
Procedures for interagency certification.
Certified seed originates from a time proven system for seed quality
control. Contact OSIA for additional information regarding membership and certification
regulations in Ohio.