Seed Labeling & Advertising Guidelines | South Dakota Department of Agriculture

Seed Labeling & Advertising Guidelines

Analysis Tag

Seed label (Analysis tag) must include the following: SDCL 38-12A-2
Reference number (1-15) on the example above are explained as follows:

  1. Commonly accepted name – Variety and Kind (i.e., Russ Hard Red Spring Wheat).
  2. Pure seed percentage by weight determined by laboratory analysis on a representative sample.
  3. Percentage by weight of inert matter determined by laboratory analysis on a representative sample.
  4. Percentage by weight of other agricultural seeds present determined by laboratory analysis on a representative sample.
  5. Percentage by weight of all weed seeds present determined by laboratory analysis on a representative sample.
  6. Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard and dormant seed.
  7. Percentage of hard and dormant seed, if present. Following the additional statement “hard seed and dormant seed plus germination equal total germination” may be stated as such if desired.
  8. Total viable percent (germ plus hard plus dormant).
  9. The name and rate of occurrence (number per pound) of each kind of restricted weed seed present. (The number of restricted or prohibited noxious weed seed allowed in classes of SD Certified Seed is zero.)
  10. Lot number or other lot identification must correspond to Lot # on name (certification) tag in 2 tag system.
  11. Name and address of the person or firm who labeled the seed, or who sells, offers or exposed the seed for sale within the state.
  12. Seed origin as to state or foreign country, if the origin is unknown, the label shall state “origin unknown”. (Seed origin is required for perennials only.)
  13. Calendar month and year the GERMINATION TEST was completed to determine such percentages. Test required for item (8) above must have been completed within a NINE month period, exclusive of the calendar month in which test was completed, immediately prior to sale, exposure for sale, or offering for sale or transportation. FIVE months is required if sold out of state.
  14. Seed treated with substances toxic to animals, poultry or humans shall be marked on the face of a seed tag identifying what the treatment is (i.e., Vitavax 200, Nitrogen fixing inoculation, etc.). Toxic poison that require the skull and crossbones will usually require a separate label typically available from the seed treatment supplier.
  15. “Unauthorized Propagation Prohibited” – (Unauthorized Seed Multiplication Prohibited) – US Protected Variety (PVPA 1994). Protection for Russ under US Plant Variety Protection Act has been granted. Sales of Russ for seed purposed may be made only if the seed has been officially certified. The federal law on the Plant Variety Protection Act as amended in 1994 applies to Russ and other newer varieties that receive protection certificates after April 4, 1995.

Seed Advertisement South Dakota “Seed Law”


Any person exempted from a seed permit (i.e., without a seed permit) pursuant to SDCL 38-12A-11 who advertises seed in this state shall comply with this chapter by including the following information in the seed advertisement. The advertisement shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Kind, or kind and variety, or kind and “variety not stated”; (“Variety not stated” labeling is only allowed on a limited number of forage and grass species).
  2. Percentages of purity analysis (pure seed, inert matter, weed seed, other crop seed) and germination.
  3. The rate of occurrence (number per pound) of any restricted noxious weed seed, if present.
  4. The name and telephone number OR the name and address of the person or firm commissioning the advertisement.

If the variety is protected under Title V (Certification option) United States Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) you must state the class of seed (Certified or Registered) in the ad. Seed advertised as a class of certified must have the proper certification tag on the bags or in the case of bulk seed, the proper bulk transfer certificate and certification papers, authorized by an official Certification Agency. Otherwise it cannot be advertised as a class of certified seed. Advertisements which claim “one year from Certified” or “grown from Certified Seed” or other such statement with the intent to make an attachment with Certified Seed when in fact they are not certified is also prohibited.

If you should have any questions pertaining to seed labeling and advertisement, or need a copy of SD State Seed Law please contact the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, Division of Agricultural Services, Foss Building, Pierre, SD 57501, or call 605.773.3796. In the case of Certified Seed, you may contact the State Seed Certification office at 605.688.4604. If you don’t know the proper procedure, find out before the ad is placed. Newspapers will take virtually any ad people are willing to submit. The newspaper is not liable for content. Be sure the variety name is spelled correctly as mistakes made in the ad reflect negatively on you as a seller.

REMEMBER! If the seed is officially certified, it is legal for you to advertise and legal for you to sell; however, if you advertise, the ad must conform to statutory requirements.