The North Dakota State Seed Department was established by the North Dakota Legislature in 1931 as the state’s designated authority for all seed certification and regulatory matters. The Seed Department is unique by comparison to most state agencies, or seed certification entities, in that it is a self-funded agency of government, and provides inspection, testing and regulatory enforcement services for all crops including potatoes. The Seed Department operates with a staff of 30 FTE’s and numerous part-time seasonal inspectors with an annual budget of approximately 3 million dollars. The department's core operations consist of five primary program areas: Field Seed, Potato, Laboratory Services, Regulatory and Administration.

This “one-stop” feature has been expanded today to include many inspection, audit and testing services related to the processing and marketing of identity preserved or quality assured products. The Seed Department operates administrative and laboratory services in a modern, 32,000 square foot facility on the campus of North Dakota State University in Fargo, where program managers collaborate with university scientists and seed companies throughout the four-state region and nationally. A regional facility in Grafton houses field staff and support services related to the potato certification program. A modern tissue culture and greenhouse wing in the Fargo operation provides foundation potato seedstocks to the North Dakota potato industry.

The Seed Department is also unique in its governance. The State Seed Commission is a nine member board represented by agriculture organizations throughout the state. The commission sets policies, approves budgets and fees and guides the development of programs within the department.

The department’s long-range plan provides guidance for development and implementation of services for the North Dakota agriculture industry, and includes our mission statement:

“To assure integrity of the seed industry through commitment to client service and product quality”.

The department is dedicated to our mission of providing superior client service, and ensuring product quality. 


Kenneth J. Bertsch
ND State Seed Commissioner


Additional Resources

Seed Commission Members

NDSSD Fact Sheet