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Seed Regulations, Testing, and Plant Variety Protection
Seed Regulations, Testing, and Plant Variety Protection

Seed Regulatory and Testing Division

The Seed Regulatory and Testing Division (SRTD) enforces interstate commerce provisions of the Federal Seed Act and offers fee based seed testing services for agricultural and vegetable seed under the Agricultural Marketing Act. The SRTD is accredited by the USA Accredited Seed Laboratory (ASL) and the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). Tests performed are conducted using the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) and ISTA methods. Test results are reported in a Federal Seed Analysis Certificate, as well as ISTA Orange Certificate. The SRTD serves as the National Designated Authority for Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes Program to certify and label seed for varietal purity for international movement. In cooperation with the Quality Assessment Division of AMS, the SRTD administers programs for the purpose of providing accreditation to field inspectors, seed conditioning facilities and seed testing laboratories. A Variety name search feature offers the ability to check proposed variety names for possible conflicts. Variety Naming Guidelines offers information about naming new varieties.

Contact SRTD:
Seed Regulatory and Testing Division
801 Summit Crossing Place, Suite C
Gastonia, North Carolina 28054-2193
Phone: (704) 810-8871
FAX: (704) 852-4189 (Testing), 704-852-4109 (Director/Regulatory)

Plant Variety Protection Office

The Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO) is a user fee funded program that implements the Plant Variety Protection Act. The PVPO grants certificates of intellectual property protection (similar to patents) to developers of new varieties of plants which are reproduced sexually by seed or are tuber propagated. This protection enables the breeder to market the variety exclusively for 20 years (25 years for trees and vines), and also creates an incentive for investment in developing new plant varieties. A PVP certificate is awarded after an examination shows that it is new, distinct from other varieties and genetically uniform and stable through successive generations. PVPO has issued more than 10,000 certificates of protection since the PVP Act was established in 1970. PVPO participates in meetings of the International Union for the Protection of New Plant Varieties of Plants (UPOV). The UPOV convention creates an international system of plant breeder (intellectual property) rights based on a set of uniform and clearly defined principles. The UPOV meeting is important for developing global consensus on plant breeders' rights among the 72 member countries and multinational organizations.

Contact PVPO:
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Room 4512, South Building, Mail Stop 0002
Washington, DC 20250-0274
Phone: (202) 260-8983
FAX: (202) 260-8976

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  Seed Regulatory and Testing Division (SRTD)  
  Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO)  
  Accredited Seed Programs  
  AOSA-SCST and ISTA Comparison Tables PDF  
  Seed Stakeholder Meeting Summary (PDF)  
  SRTD Overview (PDF)  
  2014 USDA PVPO Brochure (PDF)  
  2014 USDA PVPO Factsheet (PDF)  
  Seed Related Blogs  
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  Last Modified Date: 02/04/2015