Industry Bulletins

   Proposed Revisions to Biotechnology Regulations

   ASTA; Chile Phytosanitary Issues Successfully Resolved

   Specialty Soybean Calculator

   Organic Seed Finder

   AOSCA Seed Certification Standards: Recent Crop Additions

   AACCI Molecular Markers Technical Committee & ILSI Brazil Host Workshop on Sampling & Detection For Seed Production

   New Poaceae Maximum Seed Lot Size Limit for OECD Seed Schemes

  GMO Rice Testing Rule Change Proposal in Arkansas for 2014-2015

  2012 Proposed Rice Certification Rule Change

  New Corn and Soybean Evaluation Rules

  AOSCA Announces Organic Seed Finder

  New Canadian Rules for Blends (Refuge in the Bag - RIB)

  U.S. OECD Seed Schemes

  Retailer's Guide to Lawn Seed

  Re-Export of Seed Grown in Puerto Rico

  Regulatory Requirements Associated with the Treatment of Seeds

  OECD South American Seed Multiplication Requests

  Assessment Fees

  Important Information Introducing New Varieties 

 

Proposed Revisions to Biotechnology Regulations

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is announcing proposed revisions to its biotechnology regulations in a notice that will publish in the Federal Register on January 19, 2017. This would be the first comprehensive revision of the regulations since they were established in 1987. APHIS is proposing a regulatory program in which it first assesses GE organisms to determine if they pose plant pest or noxious weed risks. If APHIS concludes that a GE organism does not pose a plant pest or noxious weed risk, then APHIS would not require a permit for the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release (outdoor use) of the GE organism. On the other hand, if APHIS determines, based on risk analysis that controls on movement are needed, APHIS will work with the requestor to establish appropriate permit conditions to manage identified risks to allow safe movement. By “movement” we mean import, interstate movement, or environmental release (regulated controlled outdoor use such as in field trials). For more information visit the BRS news page at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/biotechnology/brs-news-and-information/ct_news (Jan 2017)

ASTA; Chile Phytosanitary Issues Successfuly Resolved

Alexandria, VA (Nov. 30) -- In March and August of this year an international delegation led by the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) met with the Chilean National Plant Protection Office (SAG) to discuss several proposed phytosanitary measures that could have negatively impacted seed trade with Chile for vegetable, corn and wheat seed. Since that time, ASTA has remained in touch with SAG and provided additional technical and scientific information as a follow up to those discussions. ASTA recently received good news that these issues, with one exception, have been successfully resolved.


First, regarding high plains virus (HPV) and wheat streak mosaic virus (WSMV), there will be no changes in phytosanitary requirements for maize seed imports into Chile. Second, in regard to WSMV and its importation requirements proposed for wheat seeds (Triticum aestivum, Triticum durum), SAG confirmed they will only request official inspection during the active growth period. Finally, regarding phytosanitary requirements for vegetable seed pathogens, we received the following information:


The burdensome requirement of sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants has been eliminated. The option of testing seed lots remains an alternative;


For Candidatus Liberibacter solanacearum in carrots, SAG will postpone phytosanitary measures for this bacterium until further information is provided.

However, regarding cucurbit seed and cucumber green mottle mosaic virus (CGMMV), SAG has decided to maintain its requirement for a phytosanitary field inspection coupled with sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants "....visual field inspection and analyzed (specify diagnostic technique"), OR a seed test (previously was AND a seed test).


ASTA will continue to work with SENASA to encourage the elimination of the requirement for sampling and testing of asymptomatic plants in future discussions with SAG. (Dec 2016)

Specialty Soybean Calculator 
The U.S.-soy-industry-led board QUALISOY has developed a calculator that can help farmers determine how much profit they can add by growing identity-preserved (IP) soybeans, including high oleic varieties. The calculator, available at soyinnovation.com, also gives a quick look into the limited costs associated with growing IP or high oleic soybeans. ISA also funds soybeanpremiums.org to assist farmers looking for IP and other specialty bean opportunities. (Oct. 2014)

Organic Seed Finder
The Organic Seed Finder website, hosted by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), allows organic seed vendors and potential customers a better means of connecting than spending hours sifting through search engine results and paid advertising. Visit the Organic Seed Finder at www.organicseedfinder.org. (Oct. 2014)

Recent Crop Additions for AOSCA Seed Certification Standards 
The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) recently approved seed certification standards for the following crops. A hemp standard was adopted to ensure uniformity in seed and seed production for some limited research and production of industrial hemp. A radish standard has been approved in response to the popularity of the radish as a cover crop. For more information contact AOSCA at 309-736-0120 or visit www.aosca.org. (Oct. 2014)

AACCI Molecular Markers Technical Committee and ILSI Brasil Host Workshop on Sampling and Detection For Seed Production 
The AACC International Molecular Markers Technical Committee joined forces with ILSI Brasil May 20-21, 2014, to deliver a workshop in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on sampling and detection for seed production. Read the two page article from Cereal Foods World August, 2014 here. (2014) 

New Poaceae Maximum Seed Lot Size Limit for OECD Seed Schemes
The proposal for maximum seed lot size for Poaceae was adopted during the 2014 annual OECD Seed Schemes meeting held in Zagreb, Croatia. The OECD Seed Schemes Secretariat is currently in the process of preparing a document for the Committee for Agriculture with all the amendments agreed at the Annual Meeting, including the changes for Poaceae seed lot size. Normally there is at least 30 days for approval, via the written procedure. August is a holiday month in France, thus, we have to factor this into the timeframe. By late September/early October, the Committe for Agriculture should have adopted (assuming no problems) the changes as recommended by the Annual Meeting. The changes will then be included in the 2015 Rules & Regulations which will be released on January 1, 2015, as effective date for this adopted rule. If you have questions, or if there is a business case need to ship larger seed lots (25,000 kg) for Poaceae before January 1, 2015, contact Fawad Shah, PhD at (704) 810-8884, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

2014-2015 GMO Rice Testing Rule Change Proposal in Arkansas
Arkansas GMO Rice testing regulations continue to evolve. The October 2014 Rice Certification Rule Change Proposal includes information regarding testing, lot information, validation reports, out of state documents and bulk transfers. A copy of the current regulations is available on the Plant Board web page (specifically pages 44-46) here. For more information contact Scott Bray, Director, Plant Industry Division, Arkansas State Plant Board (501) 225-1598, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,or James Chastain, Seed Certification Manager, Arkansas State Plant Board (501) 219-6346, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. See more information from the 2012 posting which follows. (Oct. 2014)  

2012 Proposed Rice Certification Rule Change
On December 5, 2012, the Arkansas State Plant Board updated the Regulations on Plant Diseases and Pests (Circular 11) section VIII. for the purpose of establishing the testing regulations on rice seed, for the presence of the LL601 trait, to be used for planting in 2013 and subsequent years. These are the same rules that existed for the 2012 cropping year. This regulation requires ALL rice seed for planting to undergo Genetically-Modified Organism testing for variants of LL Rice prior to April 1st of the crop planting year. This includes all farm-saved seed, certified and non-certified rice seed, and any rice seed imported from another state.It is the responsibility of the purchaser and/or the planter of the rice seed to ensure the seed is sampled by an authorized sampling entity.  Authorized sampling entities include Arkansas State Plant Board Inspectors for all seed being planted in Arkansas, or for seed coming from outside Arkansas, the official sampling entity for other states (Texas Department of Agriculture, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, Mississippi Crop Improvement Association, Missouri Department of Agriculture, Illinois Crop Improvement Association). No Arkansas State Plant Board Seed Sample Validation Report will be issued for samples taken by seed company staff, seed owners or planters, or samples taken by other entities not listed in this letter without prior approval from the Arkansas State Plant Board. Rice seed that has not been properly sampled and tested will be in violation of Arkansas State Plant Board regulations.You can find a copy of the regulations on the Plant Board web page at http://plantboard.arkansas.gov/PlantIndustry/Documents/Circular%2011%2012-5-12.pdf, specifically pages 43-45.Should you have any questions, please contact Scott Bray, Director, Plant Industry Division, P.O. Box 1069, Little Rock, AR  72203, (501) 225-1598, or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Corn and Soybean Evaluation Rules
The AOSA/SCST annual meeting was held in Boise, ID, on May 19-24, 2013. At the AOSA Rules voting meeting, 3 out of the 18 proposals were for corn or soybeans. For corn, a rule proposal was to change the rule “leaf extending less than halfway up the coleoptile” from being abnormal to normal. This proposal does not include sweetcorn  or  popcorn. A second proposal for corn was to provide additional criteria to the evaluation handbook to use in determining whether a corn seedling should be classified as normal or abnormal based on sufficient root and shoot development. The soybean proposal was to provide additional criteria to the evaluation handbook to use in determining whether a soybean seedling should be classified as normal or abnormal based on sufficient hypocotyl and root development. The three proposals did pass and will go into effect on October 1, 2013. 

AOSCA Announces Organic Seed Finder
AOSCA has announced the formal launch of the AOSCA Organic Seed Finder website, the result of efforts that began over a year ago. To visit the website, go to www.organicseedfinder.org. The purpose of the Seed Finder website is to allow vendors of organic seed to post their available varieties in a central, on-line location where potential buyers can search for the varieties they need. It will also be a valuable resource for organic certifiers who need access to documentation of the types and varieties of organic certified seed available to organic growers. The Organic Seed Finder site is available free-of-charge for anyone searching for organic seed varieties.AOSCA is well-positioned to provide this website, based on its knowledge and long history of service to the seed industry, as well as its ability to manage and present seed variety information. The core of AOSCA’s mission has been to promote seed or plant products that meet certain accepted standards and providing the Organic Seed Finder is one way that AOSCA and its members can support this growing segment of the seed industry. Illinois Crop is a member of AOSCA, the Association of Official Seed Certification Agencies. Hannah Hudson is IL Crop's AOSCA and AOSCA Council Member This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

New Canadian Rules For Blends (REFUGE IN THE BAG - RIB)
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has amended the Seeds Regulations to provide greater consistency in how seed blends created to manage pests are graded, labelled and tagged. For more information go to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency Website www.inspection.gc.ca or follow this link. 

U.S. OECD Seed Schemes
The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes are rules used by 58 participating countries to certify and label seed for varietal purity for international movement. In the United States, varietal certification for the OECD Seed Schemes is carried out by state seed certifying agencies under Cooperative Agreements with the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service. The schemes are administered internationally by the OECD Secretariat in Paris, France.Current staff and leadership at the USDA – AMS Seed Regulatory and Testing Division is Steve Malone, Director and Ernest Allen, Deputy Director. Contact information is provided below and other key staff members can be found here.
Phone: (704) 810-8871
Fax: (704) 852-4189
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
AMS Seed Regulatory and Testing Division
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite C
Gastonia, North Carolina 28054-2193
Last updated 10/17/2013

Retailer's Guide to Lawn Seed
The Retailer's Guide to Lawn Seed was developed by the Lawn Seed Division of ASTA, in cooperation with the Association of American Seed Control Officials (AASCO), to provide important information to retailers on the proper handling and storage of grass seed products. Lawn seed is a product that is highly regulated by state agencies. This guide is designed to help the retailer sell these products and increase customer satisfaction while working with state agencies to meet legal requirements. Guide

Re-Export of Seed Grown in Puerto Rico
In 2008 the industry learned that Puerto Rico Department of Ag phytosanitary certificates were not valid for re-exporting seed produced on the island from US locations. Seed shipped from PR under a PRDA-only phyto was essentially stuck in the US. During this time Illinois Crop worked closely with Mike Ward, NSHS Senior Accreditation Programs Manager, Ric Dunkle, ASTA Senior Director of Seed Health and Trade, the Puerto Rico Seed Research Association and Dra. Consuelo Estevez, UPR-M Plant Diagnostic Clinic to provide National Seed Health Program services to clients and competitors alike. In October of 2008 IL Crop added a permanent agronomist to educate and support station personnel regarding all aspects of seed certification and phytosanitary inspection. Illinois Crop has a long term, vested outlook for seed researchers and seed companies utilizing the island’s wonderful resources. As part of its commitment education there are 4 phytosanitary issues need to be considered when utilizing Puerto Rico for seed multiplication/crossing.

1) For seed to leave the island for any destination the seed must pass a USDA seed phyto exam. This typically focuses only on absence of insects and/or pathogens. USDA inspectors check each outbound container. For IL Crop clients this inspection occurs at our farm location.

2) IL Crop holds a Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture Seed Nursery License and upon request clients may be issued a PRDA phytosanitary certificate. The inspection protocol differs from the USDA program so we need to know if you need a PRDA-only certificate. For some destinations this is sufficient and a USDA certificate is not required.

3) Under the National Seed Health System (NSHS) IL Crop is accredited to perform work in PR for corn/sorghum/cotton/soybean/dry bean/sunflower. This work is honored at all levels internationally when USDA certificates are required and this includes seed that comes to US and later re-exported outside of the US for production and or testing.

4) When seed is produced in PR and sent to foreign countries the receiving country places additional declarations and/or testing requirements on inbound seed irrespective of PRDA and/or USDA.

Regulatory Requirements Associated with the Treatment of Seeds:
Commercial Pesticide Applicator License with a Seed Treatment Category
($60 per year applicator license, $40 per year operator license) Individuals who purchase, use, or supervise the use of pesticides classified for General or Restricted Use for hire are required to hold a Commercial Pesticide Applicator License.  Also, individuals making pesticide applications to seeds need the Seed Treatment Category on their license.  In addition to successfully completing the general standards and category examinations, individuals wishing to become licensed as a Commercial Pesticide Applicator must also provide evidence of financial responsibility by means of a surety bond or a certificate of liability insurance.  Questions regarding pesticide applicator/operator testing and licensing should be directed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Environmental Programs at 217-785-2427.

Storage and Handling Containment System (Agrichemical Facility Containment Permit)
If bulk pesticides are stored in a single container in excess of 300 gallons of liquid pesticide or 300 pounds of dry pesticide for more than 30 days per year, or if more than 300 gallons of liquid pesticide or 300 pounds of dry pesticide are being mixed, repackaged, or transferred from one container to another within a 30 day period, the site is considered an agrichemical facility and must be protected by a containment system or structure.  The containment system or structure must be pre-approved by the Department by means of an agrichemical facility permit.  Questions regarding the agrichemical facility containment permit program should be directed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Environmental Programs at 217-785-2427. 

Illinois Seed Permit – Retail Seed Dealer Permit
$10.00 – Application can be found on the Illinois Department of Agriculture website (Forms and Applications page) www.agr.state.il.us/Forms/index.html.  Questions regarding the Illinois Seed Permit – Retail Seed Dealer Permit should be directed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Products Inspection at 217-782-3817.

Seed Treatment Label
Section on labeling treated seed in the Illinois Seed Law can be found on the IL Department of Agriculture website (New and Legislation page under Laws and Legislation) www.agr.state.il.us/Laws/index.html.  Questions regarding Seed Treatment Label should be directed to the Illinois Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Agricultural Products Inspection at 217-782-3817. 

OECD South American Seed Multiplication Requests
Below are examples of requests that the US OECD Program Manager has received from South American OECD Designated Authorities to facilitate a smooth transition into their countries and for shipping to approved locations after the multiplication.• Male and female lines to be used in hybrid multiplication requests, need to be indicated on Table 2 or 3. Table 3 is for varieties that have not yet been approved for certification or still undergoing registration.

• All multiplications need to be sent to the US OECD Program Manager no later than early December in order for him to send them by the Dec. 15 cut off. NOTE: Chile has moved their cut off to November 30. You may want to prioritize them in order to accomplish this.

• Be sure that all seed lots being shipped for multiplication have the proper OECD tag. They even want Pre-Basic seed to be tagged with the OECD tag. The only exemption would be very small quantities.

• The Seed Company or Seed Certifying Agency should send the US OECD Program Manager a copy of the AOSCA official description and OECD Tag with the multiplication. Provisional descriptions are acceptable for Pre-Basic Seed if the variety is not yet approved.

• Seed returning from multiplication labeled with Gray Tag and marked “Not Finally Certified Seed” would need to be grown out by the Seed Certifying Agent (SCA) who receives the product and compared to the Official Variety Description.If you have questions regarding Multiplication Agreements, contact Fawad Shah This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Mr. Fawad ShahOECD Seed Schemes Program ManagerSeed Regulatory and Testing Division801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite CGastonia, NC 28054-2193Phone: (704) 810-8871Fax: (704) 852-4189Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Last updated 11/18/2013 

Assesment Fees
The following are Illinois Crop’s OECD assessment rates:

  • Corn 0.30/cwt
  • Soybeans 0.20/cwt
  • Sorghum 0.20/cwt
  • Sunflowers 0.20/cwt

If you have any questions regarding this assessment, please contact our office at 217-359-4053. Last updated 4/10/2012.

Introducing New Varieties
The IL Crop Handbook of Seed Certification outlines all of the options for the introduction of new varieties. One option is the National Variety Review Board or NVRB system. Applications and deadlines for crops with a NVRB are posted on the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies web site, www.aosca.org. The following NVRB links can be used to access detailed information, forms and deadlines for each crop. NVRB information is also available for alfalfa/legumes, cotton and grass on the AOSCA web site.For information on new corn inbred lines, please consult the Application for Corn Inbred Eligibility file posted on the forms page of our web site or contact us at 217-359-4053.Soybean
http://www.aosca.org/varietyreviewboards/soybean/soybean.html Small Grain
http://www.aosca.org/VarietyReviewBoards/SmallGrain.html Sunflower
http://www.aosca.org/VarietyReviewBoards/Sunflower.html For more information please contact Hannah Hudson, Operations Manager Illinois Crop Improvement Association. Last updated 6/17/2010.

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