|The purpose of seed certification is to preserve the genetic purity and
identity of crop varieties. It is an official system, with standards supported
by both Federal and State laws, designed to help increase the supply and speed
the distribution of seed of improved crop cultivars while maintaining the
genetic integrity of the product.
It takes several years of concentrated effort for a company or an institution to develop a new crop variety. These varieties are released with many different and important genetic traits which influence pest resistance, standability, grain quality, maturity, herbicide tolerance and yield - to name a few.
Seed Certification relies on seed pedigree records, field inspections, laboratory testing, post-season trueness-to-type plot testing and other agency-approved protocols to help evaluate and perpetuate varietal purity and identity. Seed of varieties must meet the minimum genetic standards in each phase of the program to be labeled and sold with the familiar blue tag as certified seed.
In Indiana, the Indiana Crop Improvement Association has been designated the official Seed Certifying Agency by the Director of the Purdue Ag Research Programs at Purdue University.
In general, in the United States, seed certification is a voluntary program. However, there are crop varieties protected under the U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act under the "Certification Option" provided under Title V of the Federal Seed Act (Federal Seed Branch) that must be sold by variety name only as a class of certified seed.
Companies or individuals must apply to the Indiana Crop Improvement Association to become eligible to certify seed in Indiana.