Passing the field inspection alone does not mean the end of the certification process. Field inspection is just the first step in producing a quality certified seed product. In order to be labeled as certified seed, all field-inspected seed must be cleaned to remove impurities and then tested at the department’s Seed Lab to determine whether the seed meets the minimum seed standards for the crop and class. Once the seed lot passes, then it may be labeled as certified seed.

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Conditioning Seed

Growers have a number of conditioning and marketing options available to them depending on their marketing skills and the level of management and handling they desire. Keep in mind that certified seed is a value-added product and each level of management adds value, and those that perform those tasks will extract some of that value for the services they perform. All field-inspected seed that is to be labeled must be conditioned and must meet minimum seed standards for the crop and class.


Testing Prior to Conditioning

In order to determine whether the additional investment in conditioning is justified, growers should submit a sample of their field-inspected seed for germination and disease testing. Samples should be cleaned with a hand sieve or mini-mill to approximate the quality after conditioning. The results of the pre-germ and disease tests may be used for final certification or another sample may be submitted following conditioning.

Due to their susceptibility to damage from handling, pre-germ tests cannot be used for final certification on fragile crops such as soybeans, edible beans, and field peas. Germination tests on these crops must be done following conditioning.


Conditioning by the Grower

The grower may condition their own seed on their premises with their own equipment. The grower must then submit a representative sample of cleaned seed to the Seed Lab for testing. If the seed meets the minimum requirements for the crop and class, it may then be labeled as certified seed.


Conditioning by an Approved Conditioner

A grower may utilize an approved conditioner to clean field-inspected seed and then label that seed in the grower’s name. An approved conditioner is one that has been inspected by the State Seed Department, possesses the proper equipment to effectively condition seed and has demonstrated the ability to condition and handle certified seed properly. The conditioner will submit a representative sample along with the Sampler’s Report to the Seed Lab for analysis. Providing the sample meets the minimum requirements for the crop and class, bulk certificates will be issued in the grower’s name, and the grower may then legally sell that seed.

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Testing Seed Samples

Testing requirements vary by crop, but all crops must be tested for germination and purity. For some crops, additional tests such as seed count or disease tests to check for seed-borne pathogens may be required for certification or labeling. All tests are conducted according to the rules of the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA).


KindTests Required for Certification
BarleyGerm, Purity, Seed Count, Loose Smut, Capillary Electropheresis
BuckwheatGerm, Purity
CanolaGerm, Purity
ChickpeasGerm, Purity, Seed Count, Ascochyta
Faba BeansGerm, Purity, Seed Count
Field BeansGerm, Purity, Seed Count, Bacterial Blight (Dome), Anthracnose
Field PeasGerm, Purity, Seed Count, Capillary Electropheresis
FlaxGerm, Purity
GrassesGerm, Purity
HempGerm, Purity, Seed Count
LentilsGerm, Purity, Seed Count, Ascochyta
MustardGerm, Purity
OatsGerm, Purity, Seed Count
RyeGerm, Purity, Seed Count
SafflowerGerm, Purity, Seed Count
SoybeansGerm, Purity, Seed Count
TriticaleGerm, Purity, Seed Count
Wheat (Durum)Germ, Purity, Seed Count
Wheat (Hard Red Spring)Germ, Purity, Seed Count, Capillary Electropheresis
Wheat (Hard White Spring)Germ, Purity, Seed Count, KOH (Potassium Hydroxide) Test
Wheat (Winter)Germ, Purity, Seed Count

See ND Seed Certification Standards for specific requirements for each crop.



Under certain circumstances, re-sampling and re-testing of a seed lot is permitted. If the seed lot has not undergone additional conditioning, final test results shall be determined as follows:

  • Purity test results will be averaged
  • The most recent germination result will be used
  • The most recent disease test result will be used

If the seed lot has been reconditioned to remove impurities such as other crop seed, weed seed or inert matter, a new germination test, purity analysis and seed count (if required for that crop) is required.


Official Samples

Test results on official samples collected by department personnel shall supersede all other test results from any sample previously submitted.

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Submitting Seed Samples

When submitting a sample, it is extremely important to provide all required information. Incomplete or inaccurate information will result in delays.

Always include the following for each sample:

  • Name, Address, Phone
  • Kind, Variety
  • Lot
  • Field Application Number(s)
  • Tests requested

Envelopes and bags for submitting samples are available from the Seed Department. Please contact us to have some mailed to you. Manila envelopes are used to submit common seed, pre-germs and carryover seed. Plastic sample bags are used for final certification only.


Carryover Seed

To update a germination test, send two cups of seed in a manila envelope along with the Recertification Request for Carryover Seed form, making sure to include carryover bushels and the number of bulk certificates or tags you need.



Send two cups of seed in the manila envelope, making sure to include your field numbers if you plan on using the results for final certification. Pre-germs are not allowed on field peas, soybeans, beans or other fragile crops.


Final Certification

A full plastic bag of seed is needed. Complete the Seed Sampler's Report, making sure field numbers are included and accurate. If using your pre-germ results, please include the lab sample number (e.g. L1900265) so we don't duplicate the test.


If you are sending in samples using USPS (regular mail), please use our PO BOX number to ensure packages arrive at the correct location.

USPS deliveries:


PO BOX 5257

FARGO, ND 58103-5257


For couriers such as UPS or FEDEX, please use our street address:


1313 18th St N

FARGO, ND 58102

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Labeling Certified Seed

Proper labeling is the final step in the certification process. Once a seed lot has passed grading, certified seed bulk certificates or tags will be issued by the Seed Department to the labeler listed on the Sampler’s Report. Our Online Bulk Certificate tool provides a fast and convenient option for labelers. Learn more about the online tool here. You will need your customer ID and secure password to log in. Call the department to get set up. The responsibility for properly labeling Foundation, Registered or Certified seed rests with the initial labeler. The initial labeler is also responsible for the payment of all research fees and seed labeling fees.


Bagged Seed

All certified seed must be bagged in new bags with the official certification tag properly affixed. Certification tags are void if improperly used or not attached to the bags. When a single tag is used, the official certification tag may include the seed analysis, or it may be printed directly on the bag. When two tags are used, a separate analysis tag must carry the seed analysis. Tote bags may be considered bulk seed. 


Bulk Seed

Instead of certification tags, labelers will be issued Bulk Sale Certificates for each lot of certified seed. The complete analysis will be printed on the certificate. A completed bulk certificate must be issued with each load of certified seed at the time of delivery.


Foundation or Registered Class Seed

To be eligible for recertification, bulk Foundation or Registered seed must be sold directly to the consumer by the applicant producer, or an approved certified seed conditioner.

After final certification has been completed, only one (1) physical transfer of bulk Foundation or Registered seed is permitted to ensure the purity and identity of the seed.

Certified Class Seed

Certified seed may be sold in bulk by the applicant producer, an approved conditioner or an approved bulk retailer.

After final certification has been completed, a maximum of two (2) physical transfers are permitted:

  • From the applicant labeler to the consumer (one movement)
  • From the applicant labeler to an approved bulk retailer to the consumer (two movements)
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Marketing Your Seed

Sale of Unconditioned Field-Inspected Seed

A grower that does not want to condition, label and sell the seed themselves may sell their field-inspected seed “in the dirt” only to an approved conditioner or approved bulk retailer. The conditioner or retailer will assume the responsibility for conditioning the seed, completing final certification and marketing. The grower must complete a Grower’s Declaration when ownership of the seed is transferred.


Transfer of Unconditioned Seed to Other Growers is not Permitted

Complete procedures and requirements governing the production, conditioning, and labeling of certified seed are published in Bulletin 51, North Dakota Field Seed Certification Standards.