Plant Industries

Serving the citizens of Arkansas and the agricultural and business communities by providing information and unbiased enforcement of laws and regulations set by the Arkansas State Plant Board

Seed Section

Seed Section Overview

The Seed Section's responsibilities are both regulatory and service based: (1) The enforcement of Seed Laws and Regulations; and (2) The management of the Seed Certification program.  The Arkansas Department of Agriculture's Official Seed Laboratory is managed by the Laboratory Services Section. All Seed Regulatory activities are coordinated through the Quality Control and Compliance Section.

A. Regulatory:
The ultimate purpose of seed laws and regulations is to protect the consumer from poor quality or mislabeled planting seed and to provide a level opportunity for the selling of seed. This is achieved through field inspectors policing the areas where agricultural seed is sold, checking for compliance with regulations and taking random samples of the seed being offered for sale. The inspectors make sure that all the seed, which is being offered for sale, has a label. The label provides information for the buyer such as the germination potential, the kind and number of noxious weeds per pound, the % other crop, the % weeds, the % inert material present, etc.

  • Regulatory samples are tested to determine if they are in tolerance with the label. (Seed is a living entity- if you take 100 samples from the same bag, there would be a range the results would fall within. If labeled 80% germination, the range in tolerance would be 72% - 88% on a 400 seed test.) Reports generated from these samples are as follows:
  • out of tolerance - seed is stop-saled and cannot be sold until label is brought into compliance with findings (in case of prohibited noxious weeds, it cannot be sold at all) - sent to location where sampled and to seedsman
  • Anyone who sells, offers for sale or distributes agricultural seed for planting must have a license from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture, pay all applicable fees, and have it labeled according to regulations.

Find out additional information on our regulatory programs under our Enforcement Section.

B. Seed Certification / Quality Assurance - Identity Preserved:

  • As the Official Seed Certifying Agency for Arkansas, the Seed Certification Program provides constant supervision to the production of seed with the highest genetic and mechanical purity. Rigid standards of quality are established by the Arkansas Department of Agriculture for the three classes of certified seed. Detailed records are maintained for four generations of seed production. Each generation must be field inspected and then laboratory tested. Only when all standards are met, can certified tags/labels be issued.
  • The Quality Assurance / Identity Preserved program offers third-party unbiased inspections for seedsmen. An individual program is designed to meet the needs of each participating company and fees are assigned according to the type of services needed.

Find out additional information on these programs under our Certification Section.

C. Official Seed Laboratory for Arkansas - The seed laboratory tests both regulatory samples as explained under "Seed Regulatory Program" and service samples. Service samples are seed samples which are submitted by seedsmen or farmers for the purpose of obtaining information as to the quality of the seed for planting purposes.

If the seedsman is going to sell their seed for planting, they must have an official seed laboratory test to support the information placed on the label.

  • For Arkansas Certified seed, this must be sampled & submitted to our lab by Arkansas Department of Agriculture Inspectors.
  • For non-certified seed, the seedsman may sample and submit the sample to a state official seed laboratory or a registered seed technologist of a commercial laboratory.

Find out additional information on the tests offered by our Lab Services Section.

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