Changes to North Carolina's seed law taking effect today, Oct. 1, mean consumers will see additional information on labels of vegetable seed in packages weighing one pound or less, along with extended test dates for both vegetables and cool-season lawn seeds and mixtures of cool-season lawn seeds. License fees for seed dealers will also increase under the changes, which the General Assembly approved earlier this year.
The updated label requirements for vegetable seed in packages include new "packed by" and "sell by" or "percent germination" and "test date" statement options, in addition to the seed kind, variety and lot identification that were previously required on the label.
The period of time covered by test dates for vegetable seed will increase from 9 months to 12 months and cool-season grasses and mixtures of cool season lawn seeds will increase from 12 months to 15 months. The test dates for all other agricultural seed will remain at 9 months. The extension on the dates will not affect the viability of the seed, said Gene Cross, director of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Plant Industry Division.
The fee for a license for a wholesale or combined wholesale and retail seed dealer will increase from $100 to $125.
Also under the updated law, there will be a single retail seed dealer classification with a yearly fee of $30. Previous fees for retail seed dealers were set at $5, $15 or $25, based on the level of sales.
The changes were made to bring the state into general compliance with recommendations outlined by the Association of American Seed Control Officials, an industry support group.
The NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division is responsible for registering seed dealers in the state and ensuring the quality and quantity of seed sold in the state.