by Bija Hemp
When it comes to certified seed, it’s important to understand the role of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), the programs it oversees, and the seed classifications it accords. Seed companies use these certifications to market genetically pure seed classes in the United States.
Vested AOSCA members conduct unbiased field inspections and laboratory testing to ensure the preserving genetic purity and varietal identity. The data that is generated is kept in a record system that can be accessed by state, federal and international seed officials to be referenced as needed.
When seed gets through the process of certification, it qualifies for an official “blue” certified seed tag. There are different colors for varying degrees of quality of a certified lot. Lot quality is measured by a number of factors, including germination rate, emergence, and appropriate plant population ratios.
These tags are recognized by state, federal and international seed law requirements and provide buyers with assurance that the seed has met purity standards across seed lots and years of production.
AOSCA seed certification programs and services are available for field crops, turf grasses, vegetables, fruits, vegetatively propagated species, woody plants, forbs, and most recently, industrial hemp.
Certified seed requires special land, field inspections, proper seed labeling, and meeting standards tested through lab analysis.