Text of CA Seed Law

Location of Seed Laws:


The CA Seed Law was adopted in 1967. It has a definition of "sell" that may be broadly interepreted to apply to non-commercial seed sharing. There are some exceptions already in the law that could include an exception for seed sharing.

Excerpts of the CA Seed Law

Sell Defined

Seed Defined 

Exceptions to the Seed Law

52311. A person is not subject to the penalties which are prescribed by this chapter in any of the following cases: 

(a) For selling in this state any agricultural or vegetable seed which is incorrectly labeled or represented as to kind, variety, or type, which seed cannot be identified by examination of it, unless he has failed to obtain an invoice or grower’s declaration which gives the commonly accepted name of the kind, kind and variety, or kind and type, and to take such other precautions as may be necessary to insure the identity to be that which is stated. 

(b) As to any matter which is required by Article 8 (commencing with Section 52451) of this chapter, for selling such seed in original unopened sealed packages which are fully labeled by another dealer, unless he has failed to have such seed retested and relabeled as to the percentage of germination within the period which is prescribed by Section 52481, or unless he has failed to correct the label after notice that such label has been found to be incorrect. 

(c) For shipping, delivering, transporting, or selling within this state any agricultural or vegetable seed which has a false labeling as to percentage of germination or hard seeds, unless he has first been given an opportunity by the Director to be heard. This exemption does not, however, relieve any person from the obligation, upon order of an enforcement official, to stop further sale of any seed which is found to be incorrectly labeled as to germination, nor does it exempt such seed from seizure pursuant to this chapter.

Exceptions to the labeling requirements

52451. This article does not apply to any of the following:

(a) Seed or grain which is not intended for sowing purposes.

(b) Seed which is in storage in, or consigned to, a seed cleaning or conditioning establishment for cleaning or conditioning.

(c) Seed or grain which is transported without transfer of title for sowing on land which is owned by the person by whom the seed or grain was produced.

(d) Seed which is weighed and packaged in the presence of the purchaser from a bulk container, if such container is properly and conspicuously labeled as provided by this chapter. (e) Seed or grain which is transported from one warehouse to another without transfer of title or in storage in a warehouse, if each container is plainly marked or identified with a lot number or other lot identification and the label information which is required by this article is available at the request of an enforcing officer.