Arizona Seed Law

Text of the Arizona Seed Law and Seed Rules


The Arizona Seed Law contains an expansive definition of "sell," which includes "exchange, barter, or trade" in seeds. The key for seed libraries is to ensure that the giving and receiving of seeds is not characterized by any of these terms. Since the labeling, germination testing, and record-keeping requirements of the law only apply if seed is sold or transported, seed libraries should not be subject to these requirements as long as they can show that they are not "selling" seed as defined in the law.

The law does, however, give broad authority to the Director of the Department of Agriculture to apply this law "to the extent he deems necessary to determine whether...seeds are in compliance with the provisions of this article...." This means that the Director, may, in his or her discretion, apply this law to seed libraries. For this reason, this law should be changed to expressly exempt seed libraries from regulation under this article.

3-231. Definitions

In this article, unless the context otherwise requires:

3-232. Enforcement of article

A. The director shall enforce the provisions of this article. The director shall:

B. The director may assign personnel from the office of inspections to perform any of the inspection- related activities prescribed by this article.

3-235. Seed dealer and labeler licenses; fee; exception

A. An Arizona seed dealer or an out-of-state seed dealer who sells, distributes, processes or mixes for the use of others any agricultural, vegetable or ornamental plant seed, except vegetable and ornamental plant seed in packages of less than one pound, shall obtain a license from the division, authorizing the dealer to sell, distribute, process or mix such seed. A dealer is not entitled to have a license unless the dealer has an established plant, warehouse or place of business. A separate seed dealer license is required for each place of business in this state from which seed regulated by this article is sold.

B. A seed labeler who labels any agricultural, vegetable or ornamental plant seed for sale, distribution or processing shall obtain a seed labeler license from the division for each place of business at which seed regulated by article is labeled.

C. An application for a license shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed by section 3-233. A license shall be renewed annually not later than July 1, and the application for renewal shall be accompanied by the fee prescribed by section 3-233.

D. This section does not apply to a farmer growing seed crops for sale to a seed dealer or labeler. The portion of crops received by an individual who harvests the producer’s crop and receives part of the crop as payment for services rendered in the harvesting shall be exempt from this section.

3-236. Retention of invoices and records

Each person whose name appears on the label of and handles agricultural and vegetable seeds subject to this article shall keep for a period of two years complete records of each lot of agricultural or vegetable seed handled, and keep for one year a file sample of each lot of seed after disposition of the lot. All records pertaining to the lot or lots involved shall be accessible for inspection during customary business hours. All invoices, receiving records and records of purchases must have the kind, variety and lot number of seed sold in the state of Arizona.

3-237. Label requirements; rules

The director shall adopt rules to specify labeling requirements for each container of agricultural, vegetable and ornamental plant seed sold, offered for sale, exposed for sale or transported in this state for sowing purposes. The labeling requirements shall include:

3-243. Seed labeling regulation; state preemption

The regulation and use of seeds are of statewide concern. The regulation of seeds pursuant to this article and their use is not subject to further regulation by a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state.