Individuals and businesses interested in selling agricultural seed must have the proper state-issued license in order for those sales to be lawful, Kansas Department of Agriculture officials announced recently.

“State law requires that anyone selling agricultural seed must be licensed,” said Tim Tyson, manager of the department’s agricultural commodities assurance program. “It doesn’t matter if you are selling seed as an individual or as a business, you still must register as a seed seller and obtain the appropriate license.”

Agricultural seed is defined as the seed of a grass, legume, forage, cereal or fiber crop, or any mixture of those seeds. The law does not apply to horticultural seeds, which grow fruit, vegetables, flowers or ornamental plants.

When a seed seller is licensed, the seed buyer has greater confidence in the quality of seed he or she purchases because licensed seed sellers are inspected by Kansas Department of Agriculture staff. Those inspections ensure that seed complies with state laws and regulations. Inspectors also collect seed samples to test to verify they meet label guarantees.

“We collect seed samples so we can verify germination and purity,” Tyson said. “If seed performance does not meet guarantees stated on the label, the crop yield could be less than promised and farmers could suffer economically. We make sure those claims accurately reflect the quality of the seed product.”

Anyone can sell agricultural seed as long as they comply with Kansas seed law. The law requires businesses and individuals who sell agricultural seed, whether wholesale or retail, to register with the state and to obtain a seed license. A license can be obtained through the department’s agricultural commodities assurance program. A retail license is $10 per year, while a wholesale license is $175 per year.

The only seed that cannot be sold is seed protected by the federal Plant Variety Protection Act, unless the seller has permission from the owner of the protected variety. The act provides legal intellectual property rights protection to developers of new varieties of plants that are sexually reproduced (by seed) or are tuber-propagated.

“If someone markets, sells, or offers to exchange seed that is registered under the Plant Variety Protection Act without permission from the owner, he or she could be sued by the owner of the intellectual property rights,” Tyson said. “USDA maintains a list of protected varieties on its website, so it’s relatively easy to find out if a variety is protected.”

To learn more about seed sales and licensing requirements, visit the Kansas Department of Agriculture website at


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