Agriculture in North Dakota has evolved to meet the needs of larger farms and farm equipment. Today's farm operators expect the ease and efficiency of filling trucks and large seeders quickly. The State Seed Department was an industry leader in recognizing the need to certify seed in bulk and establishing requirements to ensure product quality at those facilities. Consequently, the majority of certified seed sold in North Dakota today is sold in bulk.

Bulk seed presents different challenges compared to bagged seed and maintaining varietal identity, seed purity and quality are critical. Therefore, bulk retailers that sell certified seed are regulated by the Seed Department to ensure they can meet the minimum standards for handling certified seed.

Any facility may be designated by the Seed Department as an approved bulk retailer to sell certified seed if the facility is properly designed, equipped and managed to maintain the identity and purity of a seed lot.

Designation as a North Dakota Approved Bulk Retailer authorizes one to handle bulk certified seed.


Retail facilities must be approved by the Seed Department to handle and sell bulk certified seed. To be approved, bulk retailers must meet certain minimum requirements for equipment and management practices to ensure compliance to state certification requirements and the Federal Seed Act.

Bulk Retail Facility Permit

A permit is required to operate as a certified seed bulk retail facility in North Dakota. Permits are issued on an annual basis following an inspection of the facility by a Seed Department inspector. Bulk retail facility managers must meet minimum requirements for handling all seed maintaining proper records according to certification rules and regulations.  


General Requirements

  • Only Certified class seed may be handled and sold by approved retailers
  • Handle all certified seed without introducing admixtures
  • Maintain a clean facility including bin site at all times
  • Maintain variety identity of the seed at all times
  • Maintain complete records of all operations relating to certification and account for all incoming seed and final disposition of seed
  • Bulk certified seed may only be moved physically twice after final certification has been completed to prevent contamination. For example: bulk certified seed may be moved from the conditioner to the approved retail facility, and then from the retail facility to the farmer.


Additional Resources

Application for Approved Bulk Retailer

Facility managers must understand and agree to all of the requirements on the permit application. Facility managers and all employees that handle certified seed are responsible for meeting all terms of the agreement. In general, the agreement covers all items relating to the proper handling of certified seed, record retention and adherence to state and federal seed laws, including Plant Variety Protection.

Permission to operate as an Approved Bulk Retail Facility is granted on an annual basis and may be revoked at any time without notice under the following circumstances:

  • Conditions specified in the agreement are not fulfilled
  • Violations of state certification rules
  • Violations of state seed laws
  • Violations of the Federal Seed Act



Table of Contents


  • Basics of Seed Certification

Requirements to Operate as an Approved Bulk Retail Facility

  • Facility Management Requirements
  • Required Equipment
  • Recommended Equipment
  • Revocation of Permit

Housekeeping Requirements

  • Storage and Handling Equipment

Annual Facility Inspection

  • Focus of Inspections

Sourcing Seed

Intellectual Property Rights

  • Types of Variety Protection
  • Conditioning Seed of Protected Varieties
  • Saving, Selling and Conditioning Protected Varieties
  • Penalties for Violations

Sampling and Testing

  • Sampling Seed for Testing
  • Retesting Carryover Seed Lots
  • Testing Combined Seed Lots
  • Official Samples
  • Available Tests and Sample Size Requirements
  • Obtaining Test Results Online

Seed Sales Permit and Fees

  • North Dakota Seed Laws
  • Application for Seed Sales Permit
  • Annual Report of Seed Sales
  • Fees

Labeling Requirements for Agricultural Seed

Seed Sales

  • Bulk Seed
  • C# Bulk Certificates
  • R# Bulk Certificates
  • Downgrading Seed Lots
  • Combining Lots
  • Completing the Log Sheet
  • Additional Bulk Certificates
  • Seed Transfers - Legal Movement of Certified Seed
  • Common Seed
  • Germination Tests

Carryover Seed

  • Conditioned Seed
  • Carryover Bagged Seed
  • Carryover Bulk Seed
  • Commingling Carryover Seed
  • Commingling Carryover and Newly Conditioned Seed
  • Carryover Seed Report

Interagency Certification

  • For Seed Certified by Another State
  • For Field-Inspected Seed from Another State

Canadian Seed

  • Purchasing Canadian Seed for Resale
  • Selling Seed into Canada
  • Guidelines for NDSU Varieties Licensed in Canada
  • Canadian Bulk Pedigreed Seed Certificate

Seed Regulatory Program

  • Services Provided
  • Links to State and Federal Seed Laws

Fee Schedules

  • Licensing and Permit Fees
  • Field Inspection, Final Certification and Labeling Fees
  • Lab Testing Fees
  • Variety Research Fees

Seed Department Deadlines

Glossary of Terms


  • A. Agreement to Operate an Approved North Dakota Bulk Retail Facility
  • B. Example of a Common Seed Label
  • C. Facility Clean Down Checklist
  • D. Application for North Dakota Seed Sales Permit
  • E. Annual Report of Agricultural, Vegetable and Flower Seed Sold
  • F. Research Fee Report Form
  • G. C# Bulk Certificate
  • H. R# Bulk Certificate
  • I. Bulk Certificate Log Sheet
  • J. Recertification Request for Carryover Seed
  • K. Declaration of Carryover Seed