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Cover Crop Seed Must Adhere to Rules: Minnesota Dept. of Ag

No brown-bagging, or planting elevator stored seed, MDA says

If you plan to plant cover crops in place of cash crops this spring, follow the rules when it comes to buying seed.

The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) reminds growers that in their state, there are certain rules you must adhere to when buying and selling seed. Those same rules apply to cover crop seed, advises Denise Thiede, MDA’s Seed Unit Supervisor.

Among those rules:

  • It is illegal to buy grain from an elevator for the purpose of planting it. 
  • It is illegal to brown bag, or sell grain out of a bin. 
  • All seed sold in the state must be labeled. 

“There are numerous reasons why Minnesota’s Seed Law restricts these activities,” Thiede says. “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:

  1. Make sure the seed has a label.
  2. Confirm the seed has been tested for noxious weed seeds, including Palmer amaranth.
  3. Make sure that it is a legal sale by asking the seller if they have the legal authority to sell the product.
  4. 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.  

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