Given that the hemp industry in the United States is still nascent, certified seed offers American farmers a way to minimize the risk of growing hemp. For hemp, certification carries additional weight because of the issue of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) compliance. Certified seed establishes a standardized feedstock suitable for servicing the emerging U.S. industrial hemp supply chain. It also provides growers access to ancillary services, like affordable insurance, consistent yields, maturity ranges, and performance specifications. Seed certification refers to the replication of a known, distinguishable variety for commercial use. This ensured seed quality and preserves genetic purity and varietal identity. This is accomplished by managing the production of a given lot so that the seed that results is uniform for the grower. This is a fundamental part of our traditional agricultural system. The yield and resulting revenue potential of a standardized crop input is higher than that of what we traditionally refer to as an heirloom variety. It helps set standardization within a given commodity at a fundamental level. In the U.S., seed certification is overseen by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) , a crop improvement trade organization that develops and promotes certified seed varieties for use in commercial agricultural, through various State-level vested member agencies in conjunction State Departments of Agriculture . Following the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, AOSCA has convened the Variety Review Board, beginning the seed certification process for industrial hemp varieties. While the Interim Final Rule did not specifically address the issue of certified seed, the success of the American hemp experiment will hinge on the development of stable genetics and crop standardization, especially as the U.S. is faced with competition as it enters the global hemp economy from nations that have been leading hemp production for decades.
1. Implications of Certified Seed for the Industrial Hemp and Cannabis Industries
2. Seed Nursery Stock: Production and Forecast Following the 2018 Farm Bill