Table of Contents

General Information and Requirements

Type of Seed Certifying Agency

Purpose of Seed Certification

Management of the Association

Membership in the Association

Eligibility Requirements for the Certification of Crop Varieties

Definitions and Terms

Applicant's Responsibilities

OECD Certification

Designated Agents

Application for Field Inspection

Variety Names Used in Certification

Establishing Source of Seedstock

Certified Seed Field Planting Report

Field Inspection Application Due Dates

Re-certification of Certified Class Seed

Perennial Crop Fields

Certification of Varieties Protected by Patent and the Plant Variety Protection Acts

Roguing and Weed Control

Seed-borne Diseases

Field Inspection

Unit of Certification

Inspection Report

Harvesting Certifiable Seed Fields

Seed Conditioning

Transfer of Ownership of Certifiable Seed

Certification Records

Seed Sampling and Seed Testing

Identifying Seed Lots Submitted for Testing

Approved Seed Testing Laboratories

Size of Seed Lots

Labeling Certified Seed and Ordering Certified Labels

Labeling Seed in Advance of Conditioning and Seed Analysis

Pre-printing Official Certified Seed Labels on Seed Containers

Seed Analysis Labeling

Certifying Substandard Seed

Certifying Coated Seed

Downgrading Seed Class

Certifying and Selling Seed in Bulk

Carry-over Certifiable Seed

Blending of Seed Lots

Certification for Varietal Genetic Purity Only

Certification of Crops Lacking Arizona Standards

Certification of Wildland Species and Pre-variety Germplasm

Arizona Certification Standards Not Included in this Handbook

Interagency Certification

Re-bagging and Re-tagging Certified Seed

Complying with State and Federal Seed Laws

Phytosanitary Certificate Field Inspections

Fees for ACIA Services

Non-compliance with ACIA Regulations

Application of the General Information and Requirements

Quality Assurance and Identity Preservation Programs Offered by ACIA


General information and requirements

Type of Seed Certifying Agency

The Arizona Crop Improvement Association, Inc. (ACIA or the Association) is a non-profit organization incorporated under the laws of the State of Arizona. It is designated as an official seed certifying agency pursuant to §3-232 of the Arizona Seed Law and is a member of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA). ACIA's seed certifying activities meet or exceed the standards and procedures specified in Part 201.68 through 201.78 of the Federal Seed Act (7 U.S.C. 1551 (a)(25).

ACIA is not a marketing agency and it makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, including merchantability or fitness for purpose, or otherwise. Under no circumstances or event shall ACIA be responsible for incidental or consequential damages. Issuance of certification tags is based on a presumption of accuracy of information provided to the agency and on conclusions reached by competent personnel employing accepted procedures of field and conditioning plant inspections and seed analysis. Certification is limited to seed of officially recognized varieties that are grown and inspected so as to assure varietal identity and maintain genetic purity.

ACIA endeavors to maintain a close working relationship with seed growers, seed conditioners, seed developers and merchants, agricultural commodity and professional groups, agricultural research and extension organizations and state and federal seed regulatory agencies.

Purpose of Seed Certification

The purpose of seed certification is to maintain and make available to the public high quality seed and propagating material of crop varieties so grown and distributed as to assure their genetic identity and purity. The term "seed" as used in this handbook shall be understood to include all plant propagating materials.

Management of the Association

The guidance of the Association is vested in a Board of Directors which is the final authority on issues relating to the Association's members and activities. On-going operations are conducted by an Executive Vice President and staff.

Membership in the Association

Any person, partnership or corporation involved in the production, conditioning, distribution or consumption of Certified seed may become an active memberof ACIA by agreeing to follow its rules, regulations and procedures as adopted by the Board of Directors and by paying the annual membership fee. Any other person, partnership or corporation who is interested in supporting the work of the Association may become an associate member by paying the annual membership fee.

Membership may be suspended or terminated by the Board of Directors for failure to abide by the rules of the Association.

Eligibility Requirements for the Certification of Crop Varieties

Only those crop varieties that are accepted by the Arizona Crop Improvement Association, in accordance with the criteria established by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies, shall be eligible for certification.

A variety will normally be considered eligible if: 1) it has been approved for certification by a National Variety Review Board (alfalfa and miscellaneous legumes, grass,, small grain, soybean, sunflower) or by an official seed certifying agency other than ACIA; 2) it has received a certificate issued by the Plant Variety Protection Office or; 3) it is eligible for certification under an OECD seed scheme. ACIA will determine eligibility for crops and/or varieties not covered by one or more of the preceding categories. Application forms for verifying or establishing eligibility are available from the ACIA office and on the ACIA web site. The application form is also presented in reproducible form as APPENDIX A in this handbook.

Generally, ACIA's Pure Seed Advisory Committee (PSAC) will assess the eligibility of varieties newly presented for certification in Arizona and the PSAC's recommendations will be acted upon by the Association's Board of Directors. The Board of Directors of ACIA is the final authority on eligibility of a variety for certification in Arizona, regardless of any prior eligibility status.

Definitions and Terms

Applicant - the individual, partnership or corporation in whose name an application for field inspection or final certification is made.

Certifiable - means that a particular lot of seed is eligible for final certification as a result of having passed an official field inspection. Such seed cannot be a class of certified seed until it has passed a laboratory analysis for genetic and mechanical factors in specific seed standards and been issued final certification labels. Seed must bear an official certification label before it can be called "Foundation," "Registered" or "Certified".

Classes Recognized in Seed Certification -

Breeder Seed is directly controlled by the originating plant breeding institution, firm or individual. It is the seed source for the production of the other classes of certified seed.

Foundation Seed is the progeny of Breeder Seed or Foundation Seed handled to maintain specific genetic identity and purity. The manner of production of this class must be acceptable to the certifying agency. [It is the responsibility of ACIA to produce Foundation Seed of most varieties released by public breeding programs in the United States when such production is authorized by the releasing agency and is warranted by prevailing circumstances.]

Registered Seed is the progeny of Breeder Seed or Foundation Seed handled under procedures acceptable to the certifying agency so as to maintain satisfactory genetic identity and purity.

Certified Seed is the progeny of Breeder, Foundation or Registered Seed handled to maintain satisfactory genetic identity and purity and approved by the certifying agency.

Hybrid - means the first generation seed of a cross produced by controlling the pollination and by combining: two or more inbred lines; one inbred or a single cross with an open pollinated variety; or two selected lines, varieties or species. "Controlling the pollination" means to use a method of hybridization which will produce pure seed which is at least 75 percent hybrid seed. Hybrid designations are treated as variety names.

Inbred Line - means a relatively true-breeding strain resulting from at least five successive generations of controlled self-fertilization or of back-crossing to a recurrent parent with selection, or its equivalent, for specific characteristics.

Kind - refers to the common or scientific name of agricultural and vegetable seeds as listed in Section 201.2 of the Federal Seed Act and means one or more related species or subspecies which singly or collectively are known by one common name such as corn, barley, alfalfa or timothy.

Limitation of Generations - means that the number of successive generations through which a variety may be multiplied is limited to the number specified by the original breeder or owner. However, for certification purposes, the number shall not exceed two generations beyond Foundation seed. Exceptions to the limit are cited under "Re-certification of Certified Class Seed".

Noxious Weed Seeds - means seeds of perennial or annual weeds which, when established, are highly destructive and difficult to control by ordinary good cultural practices. The seeds of all weeds classified as “noxious” are prohibited by ACIA standards from any class of certified seed. Arizona Seed Law Rule Section R3-4-403 categorizes the state’s noxious weed seeds as follows:

Prohibited (cannot be present in any seed sold in the state) - camel thorn, Canada thistle, field bindweed, hoary cress, horse nettle, jointed goatgrass, leafy spurge, lightning weed, morning glory, nutgrass (purple and yellow), perennial sorghum species (including Johnsongrass), perennial sowthistle, quackgrass, Russian knapweed, Texas blueweed and yellow starthistle.

Restricted (presence in seed is restricted to the number cited in each pound of seed) - alkali mallow (30), curly dock (30), dodder (10), puncturevine (10), Russian thistle (30), sandbur (10), wild mustard (30) and wild oat (5).

Other Varieties and Off-Types - are plants or seeds that deviate in one or more characteristics from those described for a variety by the breeder. They may be seeds or plants that are not necessarily any variety, that are products of uncontrolled cross-pollination or self-pollination or that are segregates of any of the above plants. They do not include variations that are characteristic of the variety as described by the breeder.

Open Pollination - means pollination that occurs naturally as opposed to controlled pollination, such as is achieved by detasseling or by use of male sterility, self-incompatibility or similar processes.

Seed Conditioning - means all activities or operations performed on seed between harvest and sale, including hauling, cleaning, treating, packaging, labeling and storage.

Variant - means any plant or seed that: is distinct but occurs naturally within a variety; is stable and predictable with a degree of reliability comparable to other varieties of the same kind when the variety is reproduced or reconstituted; and, was originally a part of the variety as released. A variant is not an off-type.

Variety (cultivar) - a subdivision of a kind which is distinct, uniform and stable: distinct in that the variety can be differentiated by one or more identifiable morphological, physiological, cytological, chemical or other characteristics from all other varieties of public knowledge; uniform in that variations in essential and distinctive characteristics are describable; and, stable in that the variety will remain unchanged to a reasonable degree of reliability in its essential and distinctive characteristics and its uniformity when reproduced or reconstituted as required by the different categories of varieties.

Zero Tolerance and None - means "none allowed" or "none found" during the normal inspection or analysis procedure. Use of these terms in reporting results of inspections or analyses is not a guarantee that the fields or seed lots are free of the factor.

Applicant's Responsibilities

Applicants for certification and their associated personnel are responsible at all times for maintaining the genetic identity and purity of varieties and seed lots entered in the Arizona certification program. The various inspections, verifications and tests conducted by ACIA are intended to minimize the incidence of mistakes and deception. Ultimately, however, the soundness of the seed certification program relies on the integrity and conscientious effort of every person who participates in it. Therefore, it is the responsibility of every member of the Association to abide by its rules, to maintain its standards and to report irregularities or violations. The Board of Directors will act on any case where Association rules or procedures are knowingly or intentionally abused.

OECD Certification

ACIA is authorized by the USDA to certify seed for export under several of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes. Contact the ACIA office for pertinent information prior to planting any crop intended for OECD certification.

Designated Agents

In accordance with ACIA policy and requirements of the Federal Seed Act Rules (Part 201.73), certain members who condition seed are required to appoint an employee to act as a Designated Agent under the terms of a Memorandum of Agreement with ACIA. The agent acts as ACIA’s authorized representative in directing a member’s compliance with all aspects of Arizona’s certification rules and procedures. The agent is appointed annually, subject to ACIA approval.

Application for Field Inspection

Applicants desiring inspection of seed production fields to establish their eligibility for certification must apply to the Arizona Crop Improvement Association, 2120 E. Allen Rd., Tucson, AZ 85719 on the application form supplied by the Association (example in APPENDIX A). The applicant's signature on an application is an affidavit of its accuracy and completeness, particularly concerning the following points:

1. Verification of seedstock eligibility covers all the seed planted in the fields described.

2. Each contract grower who plants eligible seedstocks was informed as to the purpose of the planting and the necessity of adhering to ACIA certification rules and procedures in order for the seed crop produced to retain eligibility for certification.

3. Varietal identity and purity will be maintained at all times through use of complete and accurate records of field identification, field cropping history, cropping, harvesting and hauling equipment, conditioning equipment and storage facilities.

4. A map or drawing of the field location(s) and identity shall accompany each application.

5. Except where multiple fields of one grower, one crop variety and one seed production class are located in close proximity in similar cultural circumstances, it is expected that each field will be submitted on a separate application form.

Variety Names Used in Certification

The name under which a variety is certified shall be the experimental name or the proper name given by the originator or the originator's designee. This must be the established name if the variety was previously marketed. However, varieties may be certified for export under a synonymous name that is registered on an OECD Seed Scheme Cultivar List.

Establishing Source of Seedstock

Applicants must furnish ACIA with verification of the source and eligibility of the seed used to plant the fields cited on their applications. Official certification tags, bulk sale certificates and invoices showing variety, class and lot number are acceptable for verifying seedstock acquired from sources other than the applicant's own production. Planting seed certified for an applicant by ACIA may be verified with lot numbers on file with the Association. Seedstock that is to be verified as Breeder Seed must be supported by a letter from the plant breeder who was responsible for its production.

Certified Seed Field Planting Report

Applicants for field inspection and their seed growers are urged to complete a “Certified Seed Field Planting Report” form (APPENDIX C) or similar form of their own design to provide important information about fields that are intended to produce certifiable seed. Use of this report is particularly desirable for instances where a grower has several seed fields to be included on a single inspection application. Copies of the form are available from the ACIA office.

Field Inspection Application Due Dates

Applications are due in the ACIA office as follows:

Small grains (barley, durum, oat, wheat) - April 1

[Note: ACIA applications that are also subject to phytosanitary inspections by ACIA personnel under any agreement with the Arizona Department of Agriculture are due by February 15 or within 15 days of planting, whichever date is later.]

Alfalfa - April 1 (spring crop); September 1 (fall crop)

Bermudagrass - May 1 (spring crop); October 1 (fall crop)

Cotton, okra, peanut and pearl millet - July 10

Due dates for crops not listed are found in their crop standards. In any instance where an application due date is not published or where the cropping sequence renders the published due date meaningless, an application for inspection of a particular field is due in the ACIA office at least 15 days prior to the time of an inspection required by the crop standard.

LATE APPLICATIONS: ACIA reserves the right to refuse inspection of fields submitted on applications received after the appropriate due date. Alternatively, a late fee may be assessed on late applications that are accepted for inspection.

Re-certification of Certified Class Seed

Unlimited re-certification of the Certified class is permitted with older varieties of public and private origin if Foundation seed is not being maintained. Such re-certification should be noted on certification labels.

Production of one generation beyond the Certified class of current varieties may be allowed when it is determined that supplies of Foundation and Registered seed are not adequate to meet anticipated requirements for Certified class seed, subject to the following restrictions: for publicly-developed varieties, the decision lies with originating institutions and the certifying agencies in the states in which the variety is grown; for proprietary varieties, the owner must notify ACIA of intent to re-certify prior to planting the seed crop. Such re-certified seed is not eligible for further re-certification.

ACIA may specify source(s) of Certified seed which are eligible for re-certification by proprietary interests.

Perennial Crop Fields

Fields of perennial crops are subject to supervision by the certifying agency as long as they are eligible to produce certified seed.

Certification of Varieties Protected by Patent and the Plant Variety Protection Acts

ACIA supports the principle of plant variety protection as defined by a relevant patent and by the United States Plant Variety Protection Acts of 1970 and 1994 as well as ownership of plant varieties by right of development or acquisition. It will not knowingly aid in the unauthorized multiplication of privately-owned or exclusively-authorized varieties. ACIA also supports compliance with the owner's option that a protected variety be sold by its variety name only as a class of certified seed (Title V of the Federal Seed Act.) This option also applies to the owner of any such variety. Applicants seeking certification of varieties owned by parties other than themselves must provide evidence of authorization to reproduce such varieties.

Roguing and Weed Control

Roguing means removing undesirable plants from fields intended for seed certification. Plants that may need removal include other crop kinds (for example, barley from wheat), other varieties and off-types of the same crop and undesirable or prohibited weeds. Ease of mechanical separation from the desired crop kind may determine the necessity of roguing out certain objectionable species.

Excessive populations of certain other crops or common weeds in the field of the crop being certified may hinder inspection to the extent that they constitute cause for rejection of the field for certification. It is the responsibility of the applicant and/or the grower to rogue fields as necessary prior to inspection by ACIA. Failure to rogue before inspection may result in assessment of a reinspection fee for a field which must be reinspected in order to obtain approval for certification.

Seed-borne Diseases

Fields for which certification inspection is requested shall show evidence that reasonable precaution has been taken to control seed-borne diseases. Seed-borne disease present in a field in excess of ACIA's established tolerance for certification, if applicable, will be cause for rejection.

Field Inspection

Fields growing seed for certification will be inspected by a representative of ACIA at the growth stage(s) specified for each crop. Applicants are responsible for preparing fields for inspection before the designated inspection stage. Application to ACIA for field inspection constitutes permission for an authorized ACIA inspector to enter property to conduct inspections without notice to applicant or grower.

The inspector will evaluate each field for certification as accurately as the situation permits for the factors that affect eligibility of the particular crop. An inspector may reject a field from eligibility for certification due to factors unrelated to specific standards if such factors impede accurate assessment of certification specific standards.

It is the responsibility of the applicant and grower to assure that fields have been inspected prior to beginning harvest. A crop that has been harvested before final inspection is not eligible for certification.

Unit of Certification

The unit of certification shall normally be the entire field in which the seed crop is growing. In certain crops where partial fields are acceptable as the crop to be certified, there shall be a clearly marked boundary established separating the certifiable portion from the non-certifiable portion of the fieldI It is not the.responsibility of the inspector to discern an otherwise unmarked boundary within a field. Non-certifiable portions or borders of fields shall not be saved for future certification.

Fields of certain open-pollinated crop kinds may not be divided for certification unless the non-certified portion meets the genetic standards for the seed class being grown.

Inspection Report

The inspector will prepare a written report on the certification factors pertaining to the crop cited on each application. The number of acres approved or not approved for certification eligibility will be noted and the report will normally be sent to the applicant within ten days of the inspection. Owners of certifiable seed who are not also approved conditioners must supply a copy of the inspection report to the conditioner of their choice of their choice to verify eligibility of their seed for certification.

Applicants are expected to read the inspection report to note any restrictions or cautions that the inspector may have placed on the field, such as approval pending specified roguing, location of buffer or isolation strips that are ineligible for certification and presence of inseparable noxious weeds adjacent to eligible seed. Applicants are expected to communicate to contract growers any conditions of inspection approval that may affect their actions before harvest or at the time of harvest.

Harvesting Certifiable Seed Fields

Applicants and growers bear responsibility for assuring that a crop maintains its varietal identity and purity during harvesting and hauling operations. Thorough cleaning and inspection of harvesting and hauling equipment, either owned or custom, is critical to upholding the integrity of the certification program. Adherence to any isolation distances or border strips established before or during inspection is required for the crop to remain certifiable.

Positive identification of fields by variety to harvester personnel and of varietal identity and certification class of truckloads to drivers during this period is essential. Conditioning plants are instructed to decline acceptance of inadequately identified seed.

Seed Conditioning

All certified seed must be conditioned by an applicant-producer or by an approved conditioning plant. Contact the ACIA office to obtain a list of approved conditioners. The following requirements must be met by conditioners of all classes of certified seed (Federal Seed Act Rules, Part 201.73):

1. Facilities must be available to perform conditioning without introducing admixtures.

2. Identity of the seed must be maintained at all times.

3. Records of all operations relating to certification shall be complete and adequate to account for all incoming seed and final disposition of seed.

4. Conditioners shall permit inspection by the certifying agency of all records pertaining to all classes of certified seed.

5. Conditioners shall designate an individual who shall be responsible to the certifying agency for performing such duties as may be required by the certifying agency. [Note: the Designated Agent described on page 4 meets this FSA requirement.]

Transfer of Ownership of Certifiable Seed

Seed that is eligible for certification may be transferred from its applicant-owner to another active member entity of a certifying agency while retaining its eligibility. ACIA must be informed by the original applicant when seed is transferred between ACIA members. ACIA members who transfer eligible seed out of Arizona for the purpose of interagency certification (see Interagency Certification, page 10), by either their own firm or another, must immediately complete and submit to ACIA a certificate of transfer for such seed (see APPENDIX H), which is subject to a transfer fee. These certificates are available from the ACIA office.

Certification Records

Applicants must keep accurate records of the amount of certifiable seed harvested from each field or grower and where the seed is stored before conditioning. Some or all of the following records are required, depending on the situation:

1. Name and address of the owner of the seed.

2. Identification by variety and field source.

3. Amount of field-run seed delivered/received at a conditioning plant or storage facility.

4. Date received and owner of truck hauling the seed.

5. Bin or tank number where seed is stored.

6. Unusual conditions associated with the seed (high moisture, weed content, etc.).

7. Date of conditioning, equipment used to condition and seed treatments applied.

8. Weight and/or number of containers of cleaned seed.

9. Lot number and storage site of each lot, both eligible and certified.

10. A file sample of the conditioned lot in a size meeting the federal noxious weed requirement.

11. Current results of seed laboratory analysis.

12. Disposition of each lot until it is completely utilized.

These records must be kept on file for three years after disposition of the seed in a form that is readily accessible for inspection by authorized persons. The file sample of each lot of conditioned and certified seed must be retained for at least one year after complete disposition of the seed lot.

The Arizona Crop Improvement Association reserves the right to examine all records of the applicant or the approved conditioner that pertain to seed lots that are either eligible for certification or have met final certification requirements.

Seed Sampling and Seed Testing

The approved seed sampling procedures of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) are presented as APPENDIX D of this handbook.

A representative sample of each certifiable seed lot shall be tested by an approved seed laboratory. The laboratory shall use the "Rules for Seed Testing" published by AOSA to test the lot for germination and to analyze it for genetic and mechanical purity and other seed factors required for labeling certified seed. A seed analysis certificate issued by the laboratory must verify that the seed lot in question meets ACIA seed standards for the specific crop and certification class before the lot can be called "certified seed", before pre-printed certification tags become official and before such pre-tagged seed may be sold.

The applicant is responsible for submitting seed samples of adequate size for the crop being tested. Seed lots intended for export under an OECD Seed Scheme may require special sample sizes.

The Arizona Department of Agriculture shall draw an official seed sample of a lot in question when a dispute may occur regarding the accuracy of a seed analysis report as it pertains to Arizona certification standards. ACIA will submit this sample to an independent seed laboratory of its choice and the results obtained shall be deemed to be final. The costs incurred in this procedure shall be borne by the applicant for final certification.

Identifying Seed Lots Submitted for Testing

Samples of certifiable lots submitted to a laboratory for testing shall be identified by variety name and as "foundation", "registered" or "certified". Lots being tested for certification under an OECD Seed Scheme must be so identified. ACIA retains the right to refuse final certification of lots not identified as a class of certified seed on analysis reports or to require re-sampling and re-analysis of such lots before issuing final certification approval.

Approved Seed Testing Laboratories

Independent seed testing laboratories that employ seed analysts who are registered with the Association of Official Seed Analysts or the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists are approved to test seed for certification in Arizona.

Size of Seed Lots

The Association reserves the authority to establish maximum size (weight of seed) of seed lots of the various crop kinds. Where feasible, it is recommended that seed of one variety grown by a particular grower be maintained as a separate lot. Seedlots being certified under an OECD Seed Scheme are limited to the maximum size specified by the individual scheme (usually 20 or 25 metric tons).

Labeling Certified Seed and Ordering Certified Labels

Official certification labels or tags supplied by ACIA shall be attached to each package of seed by the time it is offered for sale. ACIA requests that orders to print such labels and tags be submitted by facsimile machine, mail or e-mail on the order form shown as APPENDIX F. Certification labels identify the certification agency, the certification class, the crop kind and variety and the seed lot number. Additional information, such as analysis information to comply with seed laws, may be imprinted at the discretion of ACIA and/or the option of the applicant. Seed sold in bulk must be accompanied by an ACIA bulk sale certificate for each load of seed (see Sale of Certified Seed in Bulk and APPENDIX E).

Applicants must inform ACIA when they desire that notice of U. S. variety protection status be printed on the certification label. Otherwise, the Arizona Seed Law requires that notice of U.S. variety protection status be stated on a tag or the seed container ( see Section 3-237 of Arizona Seed Law).

Labeling Seed in Advance of Conditioning and Seed Analysis

It is generally permissible to order certification labels in advance and to apply them to seed packages at the time of conditioning. However, such pre-tagged seed shall not be exposed for sale or delivered to customers until results of an official seed analysis show that the seed lot in question meets ACIA standards and complies with the Arizona Seed Law. Pre-tagged seed stored in warehouses or in transit shall be clearly identified as "Not for Sale".

Analysis certificates pertaining to pre-tagged seed shall be forwarded immediately to ACIA upon receipt. Certification labels printed in advance which are later found to be non-compliant with ACIA standards as determined by the seed analysis report must be removed from any seed packages to which they have been attached and must be returned to ACIA.

Pre-printing Official Certified Seed Labels on Seed Containers

In accordance with AOSCA regulations, the official Arizona Crop Improvement Association label or an approved AOSCA label may be pre-printed on seed containers with approval of the Executive Vice President. Procedures for accounting for the use of such containers will be established by ACIA. Members wishing to utilize this option should obtain guidelines from the ACIA office.

Seed Analysis Labeling

All seed of the certified classes must be properly labeled with seed analysis information. This information may be printed on the package or on labels printed by the owner and must include the minimum information required by state and federal law. ACIA will print analysis labels on request and, in most cases, will print analysis information on the certification label on request.

Members should be aware that, under the Arizona Seed Law, the terms "foundation seed", "registered seed" and "certified seed" are authorized for use only on seed that has been certified by a designated seed-certifying agency in Arizona. Therefore, use of these designations should be restricted to tags provided by ACIA or another certifying agency and these terms should not be placed on analysis tags printed by members, even though the seed is intended for certification.

Analysis labels must normally state information about the contents of a bag of seed, including but not limited to the following items. (This list is presented only as a guide and is not represented as an official listing of items required to be placed on any single analysis label under a specific set of circumstances):

Name of kind and variety (or varieties) present in the container in excess of five (5) percent of the whole.

Lot number or other identification that is the same as used in the records of the lot.

Origin of the seed, state or country, if known (otherwise, "Origin unknown"), for certain kinds.

Pure seed - the percentage by weight that is claimed to be of the kind and variety stated.

Weed seed and Noxious weed seed - the amounts and noxious kinds, according to the state into which the seed is to be transported.

Other crop seeds - collectively, all kinds, types and varieties not named on the label.

Inert matter - the percentage by weight that is determined to be inert matter.

Germination - the percentage of germination for each kind and/or variety stated or present in excess of five (5) percent by weight. Hard seed must also be shown if present.

Date of germination test - the month and year the test was completed.

Name and address of the party who labeled the seed or who offers it for sale.

Certifying Substandard Seed

Seed lots that have passed field inspection but do not meet ACIA seed standards for mechanical purity, inert matter or germination percentage may be certified as "substandard" for the factor with ACIA's permission. ACIA will print the cause of the substandard classification on the label. All reasonable means of upgrading seed quality must be taken before substandard classification can be used. Sellers of certified seed labeled as substandard must inform purchasers of the nature of the classification. ACIA reserves the right to deny substandard labeling for reasonable cause.

Certifying Coated Seed

Seed that is coated with commercial materials may be certified under the same genetic standards as non-coated seed. Standards for “pure seed” and “inert matter” shall be waived provided that the analysis information states the proportion of actual pure seed and inert matter in the coated final product.

Seed that is already certified may be coated and re-labeled with Arizona certification labels provided that evidence of prior certification is presented to ACIA.

Applicants for certification or re-tagging of coated seed shall note the presence of coating material on final certification requests or reports and the approximate proportions of the final product weight that are seed and coating material.

Downgrading Seed Class

Seed production of proprietary varieties intended for the Foundation and Registered seed classes may be downgraded to the Certified class at the discretion of the owner. Registered seed of established publicly-developed varieties may be downgraded to the Certified class by the owner. Registered seed of certain newly-released public varieties may be downgraded only with permission of ACIA.

Certifying and Selling Seed in Bulk

Registered and Certified seed of barley, durum, oat, rye, triticale and wheat may be sold in the bulk state. All field and seed standards shall be identical with those for bagged seed. The following procedures and regulations also apply to the sale of bulk certified seed:

1. A maximum of two sales of Certified class seed is permitted: one, from the applicant producer/ conditioner to an approved retailer or a consumer; two, from an approved retailer to a consumer.

2. Bulk Registered class seed to be used for producing Certified class seed must be sold by the applicant/producer/conditioner directly to a Certified seed grower.

3. It is the seller's responsibility to:

a) Handle seed in a manner to prevent mixtures and contamination.

b) Supply seed that is representative of the seed tested and approved for certification.

c) See that all bins, augers, conveyers, and other equipment are adequately cleaned before handling certified seed.

d) Determine that the vehicle receiving bulk certified seed is clean. If it is not, this condition is to be noted on the bill of sale or the bulk sale certificate.

e) Keep a sample of each load of bulk certified seed sold.

f) Obtain a valid seed analysis certificate before delivering bulk certified seed to any buyer.

4. It is the buyer's responsibility to maintain purity of the seed after taking delivery of it.

5. No certification labels will be issued for seed sold in bulk. A bulk sale certificate (APPENDIX F), obtainable from the ACIA office, shall be issued by the seller for each load of bulk seed sold, with the appropriate copy sent immediately to the ACIA office.

6. All bins or tanks used to store bulk certified seed shall be clearly marked as to crop, variety and lot number.

Carry-over Certifiable Seed

All certifiable seed which is carried over into the next season without completed certification must be reported to ACIA in order to retain eligibility for future certification. The applicant or owner shall submit this carry-over seed report by the due date specified on the report form provided by ACIA (APPENDIX H).

Blending of Seed Lots

It is generally permissible to blend certified seed lots of the same variety and certification class. If lots of different classes are blended, the lowest class will be applied to the blend. In all cases, ACIA must be informed of the intent to blend and of the certified lots constituting the blend. The blended lot must be assigned a new lot number and a new seed analysis must be obtained.

Blends composed of different varieties of the same crop are subject to the requirements cited above. Certified labels must show the name and percentage of each variety in the lot.

Certification for Varietal Genetic Purity Only

Seed of a given proprietary variety may be certified for genetic purity only if the owner so requests at the time the variety is entered in the Arizona certification program. Such varieties must be approved for certification in Arizona and must be under application for a Plant Variety Protection Certificate or have received one specifying the Title V option (sale by variety name only as a class of certified seed).

Certification of Crops Lacking Arizona Standards

ACIA is normally capable of certifying crops for which Arizona has not adopted its own standards. Depending on the specific circumstance, ACIA will employ either AOSCA standards for the crop or standards of another agency. Contact the ACIA office when considering certification of crops not listed in this handbook as having Arizona certification standards.

Certification of Wildland Species and Pre-variety Germplasm

ACIA has adopted AOSCA standards for certification of germplasm types (including seeds, seedlings and other propagating materials of species, selections and clones) which have not been released as varieties. Eligible plants include indigenous and non-indigenous kinds of trees, shrubs and vines and herbaceous forbs and grasses. Seed of pre-variety germplasm may be categorized as Source Identified, Selected or Tested according to the extent of documentation that exists about area of origin, parentage and specific attributes.

Complete standards are available from the ACIA office upon request.

Arizona Certification Standards Not Included in this Handbook

Contact the ACIA office to obtain Arizona certification standards for the following crops that are not presented in this handbook:

Hybrid barley, berseem clover, corn (open-pollinated), chemically-hybridized cotton, flax, guar, guayule, millet varieties, saltbush (Australian and four-wing), sesame, sugarbeet, watermelon and woody plants and forbs. The General Information and Requirements presented in this handbook also apply to Arizona certification of the forgoing list of crops.

Interagency Certification

Interagency certification is the participation of two or more official certifying agencies in performing the services required to complete certification of a particular lot of seed. Generally, the seed is grown and inspected in one state while conditioning and labeling are performed in a second state. The standards and procedures used will be those prescribed by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies and of the states involved. This process may also include re-bagging of seed already certified under the jurisdiction of a previous certifying agency (see next section).

ACIA will provide official verification to another certification agency that designated seed of a particular variety met Arizona field inspection standards when requested to do so by an applicant. Contact ACIA to obtain the “Certificate of Interstate Transfer of Seed” to be used for this purpose (APPENDIX G).

Certifiable seed produced in a state other than Arizona that is presented to ACIA for final certification must be accompanied by the following information:

1. Kind and variety.

2. Quantity of seed presented as eligible to receive final certification.

3. Certified seed class for which the eligible seed qualifies.

4. An inspection or lot number that is traceable in the previous certifying agency's records.

Most often, this information should be provided to ACIA on an interstate transfer form prepared by the official certifying agency in the state of origin. Seed presented for interagency certification by ACIA must meet Arizona's specific seed standards to be eligible for final certification.

Re-bagging and Re-tagging Certified Seed

Certified seed that is re-bagged and/or re-tagged without blending of seedlots generally qualifies for new certification tags if the germination percentage is adequate and current. Certified seed originating in Arizona or any other state that is blended with other certified lots must be retested by a recognized seed laboratory and is handled in the manner of any new lot of seed to be certified. ACIA must be notified of the blending procedure.

Seed that has been certified by another agency before re-bagging and/or re-tagging by ACIA must meet Arizona standards to receive ACIA tags. Applicants for ACIA tags for such seed must provide evidence of the previous certification status - usually in the form of a completed tag issued by the originating agency.

Complying with State and Federal Seed Laws

Responsibility for meeting requirements of state and federal seed laws in labeling, shipping and selling certified seed rests with the seed labeler and seed dealer.

Phytosanitary Certificate Field Inspections

ACIA may, in the role of agent of the Arizona Department of Agriculture (ADA), at times perform field inspections required for the issuance of federal phytosanitary certificates. In such instances, ACIA claims no authority other than its role of designated inspector acting upon instructions of the ADA. All application processes, inspection procedures, fees charged and certificates issued are the responsibility of ADA.

Fees for ACIA Services

The fees charged by the Association for field inspection, final certification and other services are determined by its Board of Directors. A current fee schedule is available on request from the ACIA office.

Non-compliance with ACIA Regulations

Failure of a member to comply with the regulations of ACIA in the production, conditioning or sale of certified seed may be cause for denial of certification services and suspension of membership upon a vote of two-thirds of the directors present at any official board meeting. Notice of such action shall be given to the suspended party immediately.

Application of the General Information and Requirements

The General Information and Requirements cited on pages 1 - 13 of this handbook are basic to the certification of all crop kinds by Arizona Crop Improvement Association and, together with any particular modifications and the specific standards for a particular crop kind, constitute the complete standards for the certification of the particular crop kind.

Quality Assurance and Identity Preservation Programs Offered by ACIA

ACIA offers customized arrangements with members to produce seeds and crops under alternative program guidelines as developed by AOSCA. These include quality assurance (QA) and identity preservation