MDA issues advisory on cover crop seed; Minnesota Seed Law must be followed on prevented planting acres

Published 7:59 am Friday, June 7, 2019

Poor planting conditions this spring are forcing some farmers to make decisions on prevented planting.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is advising farmers about the legal requirements for selling and buying seed in Minnesota, which includes cover crop seed.

There are several issues the MDA has found in past years that violate Minnesota’s Seed Law. Buying grain from an elevator for the purpose of sowing is not legal. It is also illegal to brown bag or sell grain out of a bin. Furthermore, all seed sold in the state must be labeled.

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“There are numerous reasons why Minnesota’s Seed Law restricts these activities,” said Denise Thiede, MDA’s Seed Unit Supervisor. “Farmers could be bringing in weeds through unlabeled and untested seed, or they may not be getting the type or quality of seed they paid for.”

In addition, almost all seed varieties have some form of intellectual property protection that restricts the use and sale of the variety under the federal Plant Variety Protection Act. Violations of this act can lead to significant fines for both the seller and the buyer.

If farmers are buying seed to sow on their land, the MDA offers the following advice:

•Make sure the seed has a label.

•Confirm the seed has been tested for noxious weed seeds, including Palmer amaranth.

•Make sure that it is a legal sale by asking the seller if they have the legal authority to sell the product.

•Ask about the variety of seed. A variety protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act must be sold by variety name and may be required to be sold as a class of certified seed.

More information on the requirements for selling seed in Minnesota can be found at on the MDA’s website (