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Home > Licensing, Inspections, Certifications & Testing > Licensing > Seed: Selling & Labeling

Seed: Selling & Labeling


Pesticide Applicator Licenses with Seed Treatment Category Certification

Persons who purchase or apply seed treatment pesticides may need to obtain a Pesticide Applicator License from the Licensing and Certification Unit to do so. General information about pesticide licensing including application, fee, examination, and record keeping requirement is available by phone at 651-201-6615 or online at the Pesticide Applicator Licensing Webpage.


Download the poster Buying or Selling Seed? Farmers - Know Your Rights! (PDF: 363 KB / 2 pages)


The Minnesota Seed Law (PDF: 293 KB / 36 pages) (Minnesota Statutes, sections 21.80-21.92) regulates the sale of seeds used to grow plants. The law is intended to protect consumers based on truth-in-labeling principles and promote fair competition among seed sellers through the establishment of minimum standards. Persons or firms Selling Seed in Minnesota (PDF: 86 KB / 2 pages) should be aware of the applicable laws and regulations.

Seeds that are sold must have a label showing the buyer that the seeds are alive and will grow. The label also shows the buyer if weed seeds or other contaminants are present. A person selling seed must obey the seed law by being honest about what the label says. The specific information that must be included on the label or packaging depends on the kind of seed and it's intended use. To make sure the label is correct, both the state and counties inspect them and take official samples of the seed to test. The state seed laboratory supplies test information to state and county officials whose duty it is to see that the law is obeyed.

Agricultural SeedLabeling agricultural seed (PDF: 87 KB / 2 pages) includes seed for grain and forage production, but also includes lawn & turf grass seed, native grass seed, or mixtures that include these kinds.

Native grasses, forbs, and mixturesLabeling native seed (PDF: 70 KB / 2 pages) used for conservation and restoration projects are considered agricultural seed but have some unique characteristics that require attention in labeling.

Vegetable & Flower seedLabeling vegetable & flower seed (PDF: 78 KB / 1 page) intended for home gardeners are usually sold in small packets. Labeling requirements for these seeds are different than for agricultural seeds.

Seeds of Trees & Shrubs - Labeling tree & shrub seeds (PDF: 75 KB / 2 pages) represent a small segment of the Minnesota seed business but they have some specific label requirements.

Persons or companies that prepare and label seed for sale are responsible for all claims of quality and purity made on the seed label. In addition, they are required to maintain samples and certain records (PDF: 80 KB / 2 pages).

Who Needs a Minnesota Seed Permit

The initial labeler, the first person or company to label and sell seed in Minnesota, must have a seed permit. Permit categories and fees are determined by the type, intended use, and amount sold annually. Generally, those that only sell seed labeled by another person or firm do not need a permit.

Category Who Needs this Category Fee Fees Paid
A Agricultural Seed < 50,000 lbs. per year $50 Annually
B Vegetable, flower, & wildflower intended for home gardener use $50-2000 based on annual Minnesota sales Annually
C Agricultural Seed > 50,000 lbs. per year Based on tonnage and kind of seed Semi-Annually
Seed Permit Application (PDF: 97 KB / 2 pages)

Brands, Varieties & Brand Registration Form (PDF: 46 KB / 2 pages)

Sometimes seed companies sell varieties of seed as a brand name (PDF: 103 KB / 2 pages) instead of the original variety name (PDF: 103 KB / 2 pages) generally, Minnesota law requires that the variety name also be stated on the label. If the company wishes use a brand name, but not state the variety, then the Minnesota Seed Law requires the brand name to be registered registration form (PDF: 46 KB / 2 pages) when the variety name is known but is not listed on the seed label.

Enforcement

A person or company who violates the Minnesota Seed Law can be punished by administrative, civil, and criminal penalty.

The Seed & Noxious Weed Unit of the Plant Protection Division has primary responsibility for enforcing the Minnesota Seed Law. County Agricultural Inspectors in most counties in the state cooperate and assist in this effort. The unit also works with the Federal Seed Regulatory and Testing Branch of the United States Department of Agriculture on violations of the Federal Seed Act and the Plant Variety Protection Act that involve seed shipped into or from Minnesota.

Complaints & Arbitration

When a consumer believes that they have purchased seed that was not as represented or that the Minnesota Seed Law has been violated, a Seed Complaint (PDF: 98 KB / 2 pages) may be filed with the department. Department personnel will investigate and inform all involved parties of the findings. The department does not have the authority to award compensatory damages.

The Minnesota Seed Law provides for Arbitration (PDF: 68 KB / 2 pages) of cases involving the sale of seed between two parties that cannot be resolved otherwise.

Seed Program Advisory Group

The Minnesota Seed Program Advisory Group was formed to provide advice to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture on how the Minnesota Seed Law is administered in the state. The group meets three times annually and the members include representatives from:

  • Minnesota Corn Growers Association
  • Minnesota Soybean Growers Association
  • Minnesota Crop Production Retailers
  • University of Minnesota CFANS
  • Minnesota Native Seed Growers
  • Minnesota Crop Improvement Association
  • plus two others from the seed companies located in the state

MDA Contact

Minnesota map showing seed inspector areasStephen Malone, Ph.D., CCA/CPAg., Supervisor
Stephen.Malone@state.mn.us
651-201-6531

Robbin Lucker, Office & Administrative Specialist
Robbin.R.Lucker@state.mn.us
651-201-6309

Jeff Siira, Ag Advisor
(Northwest Counties)
Jeff.Siira@state.mn.us
218-864-3057 ~ Battle Lake

Don Opdahl, Ag Advisor
(Southwest Counties)
Don.Opdahl@state.mn.us
320-239-4863 ~ Starbuck

Kevin Ballman, Ag Advisor
(Eastern Counties)
Kevin.Ballman@state.mn.us
651-385-6429 ~ Red Wing

Plant Protection Division