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SEED COMMISSION (State Seed Department)
[Authorized: NDCC Section 4-09-02]

From 1909 to the creation of the State Seed Department in 1927, the Agricultural Experiment Station had responsibility for inspection of seed sold in the state. The director of the Agricultural Experiment Station appointed the State Seed Commissioner to handle seed inspection activities.  The state Seed Department was established in 1927 (S. L. 1927, Ch. 250) and was authorized to promote the production, registration, and certification of seed and promulgate regulations for the production of handling and sale of seed. The department known as the Department of State Seed Certification was administered by the State Seed Commissioner who was appointed by the Board of Administration. The committee authorized to select the State Seed Commissioner consisted of the President of the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, President of the North Dakota Certified Potato Growers Association, Director of the North Dakota State University Extension Service, President of the North Dakota Seed Trade Association, and the Commissioner of Agriculture, who also served as chairman (S. L. 1971, Ch. 88). 

The State Seed Commission was established in 1975 (S. L. 1975, Ch. 51) to act as the governing board for the North Dakota State Seed Department. The functions of the commission include seed certification of field crops, potatoes, vegetables, flowers, shrubs, and trees, as well as testing, inspecting, examining, analyzing seeds, and creating labeling standards for all types of seed. It establishes standards for seed and noxious weed content as directed by federal law, and issues licenses to wholesale seed dealers, inspects seed processing and cleaning plants, distributorships, and retail outlets (S. L. 2001, Ch.60). 

The State Seed Commission consisted of seven members: including the President of the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, President of the North Dakota Certified Potato Growers Association, President of the North Dakota Agricultural Association, Vice President for Agriculture at North Dakota State University, a member of the North Dakota Potato Council, a public representative appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, and the Commissioner of Agriculture or his designee who served as chairman. Legislation in 1985 (S. L. 1985, Ch. 90) eliminated the public representative named by the commissioner of agriculture and added the highest elected official of the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association who was a resident of the state of North Dakota.  Added in 1987 was a representative of the Grain Dealers Association, who also operates a state approved seed conditioning plant selected by the board of directors of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association (S. L.1987, Ch. 83). The Vice President of Agriculture at North Dakota State University no longer serves as a member of the commission. In 1989 the title “president” was exchanged with the word “representative” of the various associations and other entities serving on the commission (S. L. 1989, Ch. 75). A representative of the Dry Bean Seed Growers association became the eighth member added to the Seed Commission (S. L. 1999, Ch. 55). 

Since 1989, (S. L. 1989, Ch. 75) the commission rather than the Seed Commissioner has had the option to established branch offices and laboratories. The commission meets at least twice each calendar year and may hold special meetings called by the chairman or at the request of any two members of the committee (S. L. 2001, Ch. 60). Also, in 2001 the associate dean and director of the experiment station or designee of the college of agriculture at the North Dakota State University became a voting member of the commission (S. L. 2001, Ch. 60).

As of 2010 the membership of the Seed Commission consisted of representatives from the North Dakota Crop Improvement Association, the Certified Seed Potato Growers association, the North Dakota Dry Edible Bean Seed Growers Association, and the North Dakota Agricultural Association. Others included a member of the North Dakota Potato Council selected by the North Dakota Potato Council, a representative of the Red River Valley Potato Growers Association who is a North Dakota resident, a representative of the North Dakota Grain Dealers Association selected by that body's board of directors with the requirement that the person operate a state-approved seed conditioning plant.  The Commissioner of Agriculture (or designee) serves as chairman [NDCC Ch. 4-9, 2009 supplement]. 

The Seed Department is governed by the State Seed Commission. The membership is represented by agricultural organizations throughout the state. To manage the department, the commission appoints the Seed Commissioner (S. L. 1975, Ch. 51). The commissioner’s appointment is reviewed annually by the commission and is subject to removal for cause.  If a vacancy occurs the commission appoints a temporary commissioner who serves until a permanent replacement is found.  The commissioner is directly responsible to the commission and must file semiannual reports and other reports as requested by the commission. 

In 2001 the North Dakota State Seed Department was renamed the North Dakota Seed Commission and North Dakota Seed Department (S. L. 2001, Ch. 60), with headquarters as well as laboratories, equipment, and other principle operating facilities at North Dakota State University in Fargo.  The department works closely with North Dakota State University Seed Department and by mutual agreement may share equipment, laboratory facilities, and data collected (S. L. 2001, Ch. 60).  It concentrates its activities on aiding the seed industry and farmers with quality control and also assists in marketing seed and specialty crops. As the official seed certifying body for the state in field seeds and potatoes, the department also serves as the official potato grade inspection agency.  Among other responsibilities are inspecting fresh produce, providing seed laboratory services, and grading specialty crops. Regulatory functions include enforcement of state seed law and the bonding and licensing of wholesale potato dealers.

To handle disputes involving seed transactions there is a Seed Arbitration Board within the Seed Department. It was originally called the Seed Mediation Board (S. L. 1989, Ch. 390). The Arbitration Board consists of the Commissioner of Agriculture, the Seed Commissioner, Director of North Dakota State University Extension Service, Director of the North Dakota State University Experiment Station, Chairman of the Agricultural Association, and a representative of a major North Dakota farm organization appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture or an authorized designee [NDCC 4-20.2].

CHRONOLOGY

1909 -1927      The agricultural experiment station had responsibility for seed inspection in the state.

1927                Creation of the department of state seed certification under the supervision of the board of administration (S. L. 1927, Ch. 250).

1971                Creation of the office of state seed commissioner (S. L. 1971, Ch. 94).

1975                Creation of the state seed commission (S. L. 1975, Ch.51).

1985                The seed commissioner was given authority by the legislature to adopt rules without approval of the commission (S. L. 1985, Ch. 90).

1987                Dean of school of agriculture at the North Dakota state university is an advisory nonvoting member of the commission. Commission composition changes because of the addition or removal of various interests groups. Title changes from “president” to representative” (S. L. 1987, Ch. 83).

1989                Mediation board formed (S. L. 1989, Ch. 390).

1989                Seed Commissioner may add or delete from the list of noxious weeds as defined in [NDCC 4-9-01]. Seed labeling requires clarification of  wording (S. L. 1989, Ch. 75).

1989                State Treasurer is to provide for investments of funds and deposit any interest into the seed revolving fund (S. L. 1989, Ch. 20).

1991                Selected seeds or more than three samples are charged a testing fee.
Mediation board renamed arbitration board (S. L. 1991, Ch. 59).

1995                New legislation involving labeling of noxious weed seeds (S. L. 1995, Ch. 63).

1999                Dry Edible Bean Seed Growers Association representative added as a member of the Seed Commission (S. L. 1999, Ch. 65).

2001                The Associate Dean and Director of the Experiment Station or designee of College of Agriculture at the North Dakota State University becomes a voting member of the commission (S. L. 2001, Ch.60).

2001                A new section added to North Dakota Century Code involving establishment of a seed classification system (S. L. 2001, Ch. 62).The Seed Commissioner is added to the Arbitration Board ( S. L. 2001, Ch. 61).

2003                New laws relate to the noxious weed seed tolerances (S. L. 2003, Ch. 53).               Updates on requirements for the sale of seed (S. L. 2003, Ch. 43).

2005                Changes in requirements for the sale of seeds (S. L. 2005, Ch. 54).

2005                State Seed Department renamed the seed department. New laws relating to the Seed Department, seed labeling, and certified seed. Seed Department and North Dakota State University Seed Department permitted to share equipment, laboratory facilities, and data (S. L. 2005, Ch. 60).

2007                Changes in North Dakota Century Code relating to examination, exemptions, genetic identity, identity preservation, plant variety protection, and prohibition of seeds (S. L. 2007, Ch. 58).

2009                North Dakota State University designated as the official seed certification agency for the state (S. L. 2009, Ch. 73).

SERIES

31074 Administrative Files
31075 Subject Files
31076 North Dakota Crop Improvement Files
31077 Laboratory Record
31078 Receipt and Disbursement Record
31079 Photographs

SOURCES

Gray, David P. Guide to the North Dakota State Archives, 1985.
North Dakota Century Code.
North Dakota Secretary of State Blue Book.
North Dakota State Legislature Session Laws.
North Dakota State Seed Department Website.

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