U.S OECD Seed Schemes Program

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes promotes the use of internationally standardized and certified agricultural seed. OECD certified seed is produced and officially controlled according to agreed-upon standards in participating countries.  OECD Seed Schemes labels are recognized worldwide and are required for certified seed imports into many countries. A major benefit of the OECD Seed Schemes is that it allows seed businesses to utilize optimal growing seasons and conditions around the world to grow crops year-round.

Countries may choose to participate in any of several crop groupings. To certify under these groupings, the country must meet OECD certification standards for each crop group selected. The United States participates in the Grasses and Legumes; Crucifers and other Oil or Fiber Species; Cereals; Fodder Beets and Sugar Beets; Maize; and Sorghum seed schemes. The United States does not participate in the Subterranean Clover or Vegetable Schemes.

How the OECD Seed Schemes Work

SRTD administers the OECD Seed Schemes for the United States on behalf of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) which serves as the National Designated Authority (NDA).  The AMS Delegate (U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program Manager) represents the U.S. at the Seed Schemes working groups and annual meetings, where changes to the Rules & Regulations are discussed and approved. 

AMS’s goal at OECD Seed Schemes meetings is to ensure that any proposed rule or policy changes to the OECD Seed Schemes are in the best interest of U.S. seed producers.  This is accomplished by holding several yearly meetings with domestic seed businesses and regulatory officials regarding proposed changes to the Seed Schemes.  After consulting with domestic stakeholders, the Program Manager develops a U.S. position on each proposal.  During meetings of the OECD Seed Schemes, the Program manager votes for or against each proposed policy based on the best interests of U.S. seed trade. 

Another major responsibility of the U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program involves resolving issues that hamper the trade between the United States and other countries.  Often, regulatory officials from other countries may interpret OECD policy and other international rules in a way that slows or stops seed shipments into their countries.  In these cases, it is the responsibility of the U.S. Program Manager to speak directly with counterparts or regulatory officials in the receiving country to facilitate trade. 

On average, more than 160 million pounds of seed is shipped through the U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program each year.  These seed shipments originate from the State Seed Certifying Agencies (SCA) that maintain cooperative agreements with AMS. Cooperative agreements allow SCAs to perform seed testing and field inspections on behalf of the U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program. Fees are collected based on the amount of seed shipped, which supports the administration of the Program and pays the annual country participation fee which is forwarded to OECD Secretariat in Paris.

U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Resources for Seed Companies and Seed Certifying Agencies

Contact Information: Please contact the U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program Manager with any questions or issues related to the U.S. OECD Seed Schemes Program. 

Steve Malone, Ph.D., CCA/CPAg
US OECD Seed Schemes Program Manager
704-810-8888 or 980-308-4617 (mobile)

Chi Trinh
Seed Marketing Specialist

Additional Resources: