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Organic 101: Organic Seeds Are Fundamental Right from the Start

Posted by Miles McEvoy, Deputy Administrator of the National Organic Program in Food and Nutrition
Feb 21, 2017
Like other organic products, seeds used in organic agriculture cannot be genetically engineered or be treated with prohibited substances.
Like other organic products, seeds used in organic agriculture cannot be genetically engineered or be treated with prohibited substances.

This is the twenty-second installment of the Organic 101 series that explores different aspects of the USDA organic regulations.

The fall harvest is in, and organic farmers are already looking forward to planting their spring seedlings.  Organic farmers rely on organic seeds to meet the growing demand for certified organic products. These seeds are essential to the integrity of the supply chain for quality organic food, feed and other products.  All organic producers must use organic seeds, annual seedlings and planting stock unless organic varieties are not commercially available.

To meet the increased demand for organic seeds, the National Organic Program (NOP), part of USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service is collaborating and sharing information with the Organic Seed Alliance (OSA) and its partner, the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA), to better understand the organic seed market and to help farmers locate seed producers and supplies.

For example, NOP supported the creation of the AOSCA Organic Seed Finder, a website that allows organic seed vendors and potential customers to find one another.  Certifying agents and organic operations can use this tool to locate available organic seed and ensure the integrity of those seeds.

The use of organic seed is also an important aspect of organic certification.  During each farm’s annual review and inspection, certifying agents also verify that certified operations use organic seed varieties.  Certifying agents also make sure that USDA organic products meet all of the organic standards, including reviewing substances and inputs used to treat seeds and planting stock.  This review assures buyers and sellers that any seed treatments are approved for organic production.  Like other organic products, seeds used in organic agriculture cannot be genetically engineered or be treated with prohibited substances.

It is amazing to think that something as small as a seed can have such a huge role in providing organic food to consumers around the world.  USDA is committed to supporting the entire organic community and ensuring the integrity of organic products from seed to table.

USDA is committed to supporting the organic community and ensuring the integrity of organic products from seed to table.
USDA is committed to supporting the organic community and ensuring the integrity of organic products from seed to table.
Category/Topic: Food and Nutrition

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Comments

Elvin H. Jenkins
Dec 18, 2014

how to receive free organic seeds.

Mandy
Dec 29, 2014

Its also amazing that anything produced as 'Organic' should have to jump through so many loops while toxic chemicals applied to soil, seeds and crops can be applied with abandon!

Is this upside down? It should be the other way round...

Julie denning
Sep 30, 2015

Please put a beekeeper in the mix on your board

Robert Weatherton
Jan 03, 2018

I am going to work on 100% organic rice seeds.
The problem lies in the enforcement of the stated regulation by national Organic Program.
A producer i spoke with this morning stated to me "ï only have to state that i have searched three sources for organic Seed. And even then i do not have to buy."
This will be a rude awaking when i produce Organic seed of the varieties he plants and he says he doe not have to buy????
Again Enforcement is not there???
We need compliance,

Marekas
Jan 23, 2020

Dear Sir/Madam
Hello, I want to know about what documents and certifications I need to trade seeds from Europe (country of origin Holland, Italy) in USA via Amazon platform.
And who should I contact to get these documents.
Thanks in advance