Does US Agricultural Law Mean Seed Libraries Are Illegal?

Recently a story came across our Facebook feed that told of an action taken by the Pennsylvania Dept of Agriculture that seemed...

After reading the story a number of SLOLA members had a fast and furious correspondence on Facebook supplemented by text messages and phone calls. 

We found the California codes on the same subject and they had the same wording as the Pennsylvania codes - in fact, we have learned since that almost every state uses the same language, taken from the Federal laws, so there is consistency.  The language that seems to be critical to seed libraries comes towards the top (in definitions) where it states: "Sell" includes offer for sale, expose for sale, possess for sale, exchange, barter or trade."

If this does apply to seed libraries, we are in for some interesting times ahead because if this includes us, we will be responsible for seed germination tests, and labeling requirements.  I'm sure we can find ways around this (declare the seed to be 'substandard' and do away with the test entirely). 

In the meantime, SLOLA is seeking a pro bono attorney to help us decipher the legalese.  Look for more details on this and our responses to it.  We aren't going away and hopefully all seed libraries can use whatever we find going forward.


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Comment by Molly Kennedy on August 5, 2014 at 2:08pm

Thank you for your post. I've been hearing rumblings of this since early yesterday and I am watching and waiting....

Tip 1: Label! Label! Label!

Learn some easy ways to improve the quality of your labels with this helpful video.


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