The Federal Seed Act, approved by the United States Congress in 1939, is an important piece of legislation for agriculture. It was enacted, in part, to regulate interstate and foreign commerce in seeds, require labeling, prevent misrepresentation of seeds and require certain standards. It provides a definition of a seed certifying agency as an agency that is authorized under state laws to certify seed according to rules and standards approved by the Secretary of Agriculture.   

As the state’s designated authority for seed related issues, the State Seed Department authorizes and regulates certain activities according to federal and state seed laws. The Federal Seed Act Regulations Part 201, for example, specifies certain requirements for handling and labeling seed certified seed. ND Century Code contains specific requirements for operating a seed business in the state. In some instances, the Seed Department uses permits and licenses to regulate and enforce state and federal requirements.