Mississippi Seed Law

Summary: Seed libraries should not be considered "seedsmen" requiring a permit under this law because they are not selling, offering for sale or exchanging seeds. The state might argue that they are seedsman because § 69-3-3 uses the word "distributing." They might also argue that the seed libraries are "exchanging" seeds. 

§ 69-3-1. Definitions 

(a) "Advertisement" means all representations made by the labeler, other than those on the label, disseminated in any manner or by any means, relating to seed within the scope of this article.

(b) "Agricultural seeds" means the seed of grass, forage, cereal and fiber crops, lawn seed, and any other kinds of seed, including transgenic seeds, recognized within this state as agricultural or field seeds, and mixtures of such seeds.

(e) "Commercial grower" means a person, firm or corporation engaged primarily in the production of seed for planting purposes for sale or trade.

(h) "Consumer" means any person who purchases or otherwise obtains seed for sowing but not for resale.

(n) "Flower seed" means the seeds of herbaceous plants grown for their blooms, ornamental foliage or other ornamental parts, including transgenic seeds, and commonly known and sold under the name of flower seeds in this state.

(q) "Label" means the display or displays of written, printed or graphic matter upon or attached to the container of seed pertaining to the contents of the container.

(r) "Labeler" means the person, firm, corporation or the registered code number whose name appears on the label or container of seed.

(s) "Labeling" includes all labels and other written, printed or graphic representations made by the labeler accompanying and pertaining to the seed product whether in bulk or in containers, and any product use guides for the technology of the seed, that may be distributed in any manner including representations on invoices except for current official publications of the United States Department of Agriculture, state extension services, state experiment stations, state agricultural colleges and other similar federal or state institutions or agencies authorized by law to conduct research.

(z) "Prohibited noxious weed seed" means the seeds of weeds that reproduce by seed, and/or spread by underground roots or stems, and which, when established, are highly destructive and difficult to control in this state by ordinary good cultural practice, or constitute a peculiar hazard to the agriculture of this state.

(dd) "Seed record" means information which relates to the origin, treatment, germination and purity of each lot of agricultural seed sold, offered or exposed for sale in this state, or which relates to the treatment, germination and variety of each lot of vegetable, flower, or tree and shrub seed sold, offered or exposed for sale in this state. Such information includes seed samples and records of declarations, labels, purchases, sales, cleaning, bulking, handling, storage, analyses, tests and examinations.

(ee) "Seedsman" means a person, firm or corporation engaged in the buying, selling or exchanging, offering or exposing for sale agricultural seeds or mixtures thereof, vegetable, flower, tree and shrub seeds as defined in this article.

(ii) "Tree and shrub seeds" means the seeds of woody plants, including transgenic seeds, commonly known and sold as tree and shrub seeds in this state.

(mm) "Vegetable seeds" means the seeds of those crops which are grown in gardens or on truck farms, including transgenic seeds, and are generally known and sold under the name of vegetable seeds in this state.

(nn) "Weed seed" means the seeds, bulblets or tubers of all plants generally recognized as weeds within the state and includes noxious weed seeds.

§ 69-3-3. Seedsman permits 

(1) Every seedsman who sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, distributes or solicits orders for the sale of any agricultural seed or mixtures thereof, vegetable seed, flower seed, or tree and shrub seed as defined in Section 69-3-1 to farmers, retail seed dealers, wholesale distributors, or to others who use or plant such seed in the State of Mississippi, shall, before selling or offering such seed for sale or distributing or soliciting orders for the sale of such seed and on or before the first day of July of each year, secure an annual permit from the commissioner to engage in such business. Seed dealers and other sellers of seed shall apply for an annual permit upon forms prescribed by the commissioner and such a permit shall be issued upon the payment of the following permit fees when the application is in proper form:

(a) Each seedsman selling packet seed, in closed containers of less than four (4) ounces, through commission merchants or agents, shall furnish each agent with permit at fee of Two Dollars and Fifty Cents ($ 2.50) per agent. A separate permit shall be required for each location or place of business with rack display.

(b) For each seedsman engaged in selling vegetable seed at retail from containers of four (4) ounces or more, not displayed on a rack, a permit fee of Five Dollars ($ 5.00) for each such place of business. This permit will qualify the seedsman to only sell vegetable seeds, as identified by the Federal Seed Act, directly to the consumer.

(c) For each seedsman engaged in selling seed at retail to the consumer, except vegetable seed dealers as defined above and packet seed agents, a permit fee of Twenty-five Dollars ($ 25.00) for each such place of business. This permit will qualify the seedsman to only sell seed to the consumer for sowing but not for resale.

(d) For each seedsman engaged in selling seed to wholesale distributors only, a permit fee of Five Dollars ($ 5.00) for each such place of business of the seller. This permit will qualify the seedsman to sell only to "wholesale distributors."

(e) For each seedsman engaged in selling seed as a wholesale distributor, a permit fee of One Hundred Dollars ($ 100.00) for each such place of business. This permit qualifies a seedsman to sell at levels for permits required by paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section.

(2) Out-of-state seedsmen who sell or ship seed into this state shall obtain a permit in the same manner as described in paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section.

(3) For the purpose of enforcement of the permit provisions of this section, the type of permit held by the buyer shall determine the type of permit required of the seller.

(4) Permits shall be renewed annually, beginning July 1, and may be revoked for cause by the commissioner. Failure to renew such permit by September 1 of each year will incur a penalty of twenty-five percent (25%) to the cost of the permit. The initial registration will be at the prescribed fee. However, the fee for first time permit applicants received on or after April 1 will be prorated by the commissioner for all classifications except packet agent permits.

(5) The Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station shall be exempt from permit requirements for seed distributed for increase.

§ 69-3-6. Seed inspection fees 

(1) The department may establish seed inspection fees, prescribe and furnish forms, and require the filing of reports necessary for the payment of the inspection fees. The department may inspect the record of any seedsman during the normal hours of business operation as it deems necessary.

(2) All fees collected under this section shall be deposited into a special fund in the State Treasury. The department may expend the monies in the fund by an annual appropriation approved by the Legislature for the support of the Seed Division of the Bureau of Plant Industry.

(3) Every seedsman who sells or distributes seed for sale, whether in bulk or in containers, within or into Mississippi for planting purposes, shall be assessed a seed inspection fee as required by the department.

(4) Every seedsman must:

   (a) Pay an inspection fee on the total number of pounds of seed sold or otherwise distributed for sale within or into the state. Payment of the seed inspection fees shall be the responsibility of the seedsman initiating the first sale of seed within or into the state;

   (b) Maintain records, as required by the department, that accurately reflect the total pounds of seed subject to the fees that are handled, sold or offered, or distributed for sale;

   (c) File quarterly reports on forms provided or approved by the department, covering the total pounds of all sales of seed subject to the fee and sold during the preceding quarter. The reports and fees due shall be filed with the department no later than thirty (30) days following the end of each calendar quarter.

(5) A seedsman who does not file the quarterly report by the due date shall pay a penalty fee as provided by the regulations of the department. The penalty fee shall be waived if the seedsman obtains prior written approval from the department for a late filing and complies with the late filing requirements.

(6) If a seedsman does not comply with all the requirements of this section, the commissioner may suspend the seedsman’s permit until the seedsman is in compliance.

§ 69-3-5. Labeling requirements 

(1) Each container of agricultural, vegetable, flower, or tree and shrub seeds sold, offered for sale, or exposed for sale, or transported within this state for seeding purposes shall bear thereon or have attached in a conspicuous place a plainly written or printed label or tag in the English language, giving the following information:

   (a) For agricultural seed:

      (i) The commonly accepted name of kind and variety of each agricultural seed present in excess of five percent (5%) of the whole and the percentage by weight of each in the order of its predominance. When more than one (1) kind and variety is required to be named, the word "mixture" or the word "mixed" shall be shown conspicuously on the label, but the commissioner may by regulation permit certain kinds of seed to be labeled "mixed" without showing the percentage of each variety present. Hybrids shall be labeled with the name and/or number by which the hybrid is commonly designated.

      (ii) Lot number or other designation.

      (iii) Net weight.

      (iv) Origin.

      (v) Percentage by weight of all weed seed, including noxious weed seed.

      (vi) Percentage by weight of inert matter.

      (vii) Percentage by weight of other crop seed.

      (viii) For each named agricultural seed:

         1. Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard seed or firm seed.

         2. Percentage of hard seed, if present.

         3. Percentage of firm ungerminated seed, if present.

         4. The calendar month and year the test was completed to determine such percentages.

      (ix) The name and number per pound of each kind of restricted noxious weed seed.

      (x) The name and address, or the registered code number, of the person who labeled the seed, or who sells, offers or exposes the seed for sale within this state.

      (xi) In addition to the above label requirements, the commissioner may, by regulation, require certain additional information for the label.

   (b) For vegetable seed in containers of more than one (1) pound:

      (i) Name of kind and variety of seed.

      (ii) Net weight.

      (iii) Lot number or other identification.

      (iv) Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard seed.

      (v) Percentage of hard seed, if present.

      (vi) Calendar month and year the test was completed to determine such percentages.

      (vii) The name and address, or the registered code number, of the person who labeled the seed, or who sells, offers or exposes the seed for sale within this state.

      (viii) For seeds which germinate less than standards prescribed under rules and regulations, the words "below standard" in not less than 8-point type must be written or printed on face of tag in addition to other information required.

   (c) For vegetable seed in containers of one (1) pound or less:

      (i) Name of kind and variety.

      (ii) The name and address, or the registered code number, of the person who labeled the seed, or who sells, offers or exposes the seed for sale within this state.

      (iii) For seed which germinate less than the standards prescribed for such seed under rules and regulations, the following additional information must be shown:

         1. Percentage of germination, exclusive of hard seed.

         2. Percentage of hard seed, if present.

         3. Calendar month and year the test was completed to determine such percentage.

         4. The words "below standard" in not less than 8-point type.

   (d) For flower seed:

   Flower seed shall be labeled to comply with rules and regulations promulgated under this article.

   (e) For tree and shrub seed:

   Tree and shrub seed shall be labeled to comply with the rules and regulations promulgated under this article.

   (f) For treated seed:

   All seed treated shall be labeled to comply with the rules and regulations promulgated under this article.

(2) The labeler shall keep records of the year of production and blending components of all agricultural or vegetable seed in each lot labeled, distributed or offered for sale within the state. Upon request the records of each lot of seed shall be made available to the purchaser of seed from such lots either through information on the label, the container or other means that may be required by regulation to provide the information requested in a timely manner.

§ 69-3-13. Disclaimers, nonwarranties and limited warranties 

A disclaimer, nonwarranty or limited warranty used on labels or in advertisement shall not directly or indirectly deny or modify any information required by this article or the regulations promulgated thereunder.

§ 69-3-7. Records 

(1) Each person handling seed shall keep for a period of two (2) years a complete seed record of agricultural, vegetable, flower, or tree and shrub seeds handled.

(2) The records shall include the information for seed records as defined in Section 69-3-1.

(3) The commissioner or his duly authorized agents shall have the right to inspect such records for the purpose of the effective administration of this article.

§ 69-3-11. Exemptions 

   Agricultural seed or mixtures of same, vegetable seed, flower seed, and tree and shrub seed shall be exempt from provisions of this article:

   (1) When sold and delivered by a farmer-grower of this state on his own premises, but a farmer-grower is required to label seed when sold and shipped away from his premises, but is not required to hold the seedsman’s permit. These provisions do not apply to commercial growers of seed.

   (2) When sold or represented to be sold for purposes other than seeding, providing that the vendor shall make it unmistakably clear to the purchaser of such seed that it is not for seeding purposes.

   (3) When seed for processing is being transported to, or consigned to, or stored in a processing or cleaning establishment, provided that the invoice or labeling accompanying said seed bears the statement "seed for processing." Other labeling or representation which may be made with respect to the uncleaned or unprocessed seed shall be subject to this article.

   (4) No label shall be required, unless requested by the purchaser, on agricultural seed, mixtures of same, vegetable seed, flower, and tree and shrub seed when such seeds are sold directly to and in the presence of the purchaser and taken from a container labeled in accordance with this article.

   (5) No person shall be subjected to the penalties of this article for having sold, offered or exposed for sale in this state agricultural seed, mixtures of same, vegetable seed, flower seed, or tree and shrub seed which were incorrectly labeled or represented as to kind, variety or origin, which seed cannot be identified by examination thereof, unless he has failed to obtain an invoice or grower’s declaration or other labeling information and to take such other precautions as may be reasonable to insure the identity to be that stated.

§ 69-3-9. Prohibitions 

   (1) It shall be unlawful for any person to sell, offer for sale or expose for sale any agricultural seed, mixtures of agricultural seed, vegetable seed, flower seed, or tree and shrub seed, as defined in this article, for seeding purposes within this state:

   (a) Unless a permit has been obtained in accordance with provisions of this article.

   (b) Unless the test to determine the percentage of germination required by Section 69-3-5 shall have been completed within the period specified in the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this article.

   (c) Not labeled in accordance with the provisions of this article, or having a false or misleading labeling or claim.

   (d) Pertaining to which there has been a false or misleading advertisement.

   (e) Consisting of, or containing, prohibited noxious weed seeds.

   (f) Containing restricted noxious weed seeds, except as prescribed by regulations promulgated under this article.

   (g) Containing weed seeds, including those of noxious weeds, in excess of limits set forth in the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this article.

   (h) That have been treated with a poisonous material and not labeled in accordance with provisions of this article and regulations promulgated thereunder.

   (i) To which there are affixed names or terms that create a misleading impression as to the kind, kind and variety, history, productivity, quality or origin of the seeds.

   (j) Having tags or labels attached to the containers of seed bearing thereon a liability or nonwarranty clause disclaiming responsibility for the information on the label required by Section 69-3-5.

   (k) Unless it conforms to the definition of a "seed lot" or "lot of seed" as defined in this article.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any person within this state:

   (a) To detach, alter, deface or destroy any label provided for in this article or the regulations promulgated thereunder, or to alter or substitute seed in any manner that may defeat the purpose or provisions of this article.

   (b) To disseminate false or misleading advertisements in any manner concerning agricultural, vegetable, flower, or tree and shrub seeds.

   (c) To sell, distribute, offer for sale or expose for sale any agricultural, vegetable, flower, or tree and shrub seeds labeled "certified seed," "registered seed" or "foundation seed" unless it has been produced and labeled in accordance with the procedures and in compliance with the rules and regulations of an official certifying agency as defined in this article.

   (d) To sell seed represented to be a hybrid unless such seed conforms to the definition of a hybrid as defined in this article.

   (e) To hinder or obstruct in any manner the commissioner or an authorized agent of the commissioner in the performance of his duties.

   (f) To fail to comply with a stop sale order or seizure order, or to dispose of any seed suspended from sale or use without proper release.

   (g) To use the name of the department of agriculture, or the results of tests and inspections made by the department, for advertising purposes.

   (h) To label and offer for sale seed under the scope of this article without keeping complete records as specified in Section 69-3-7.

   (i) To use the words "type" or "trace" in lieu of information required by Section 69-3-5.

   

   

§ 69-3-121. Penalties 

   (1) Except as otherwise provided in subsection (2) of this section, every person, firm, association or corporation who shall violate any of the provisions of this article pertaining to certification shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in any sum not less than $ 25.00, nor exceeding $ 500.00, for each offense, and be denied the right to apply for further certification within such period as the court may determine, not exceeding 1 year.

(2) Any person who, with the intent to injure, defraud or mislead, shall alter, erase, raise, obliterate, destroy, forge, substitute, disfigure in any manner, or remove from the package, container, wrappings or bale to which it is attached, any certificate, specification, or certification of any seed improvement association organized under the laws of this state, disclosing or in any manner pertaining to the grade, quality, quantity, or condition of any agricultural field seed or seeds or any cotton or cotton lint, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and on conviction shall be fined not less than Twenty-five Dollars ($ 25.00), nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($ 500.00), or imprisoned in the county jail for not more than twelve months, or both.