Pennsylvania Seed Law

Text of the Pennsylvania Seed Act

In Pennsylvania, supplying seed might make you subject to the requirement to get a license, which involves filling out a form and paying an annual $25 fee (Section 7103, Chapter 71 of PA Consolidated Statutes). However, the sections of the law (7104, 7105, etc.) that mandate testing and labeling only apply if you sell seed. Not “supply,” but “sell!”  See below.

From Section 7102. Definitions

COMMENT: Does that mean that if you don’t put your name on the label, then you aren’t a distributor?

From 7103. Licensing.

QUESTION: Has anyone filled out this form?  What does it ask? 

From 7104. Labels and labeling.

COMMENT: The labeling requirements only apply to selling. Seed libraries aren’t selling seeds!!

Introduction to The Seed Program of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

COMMENT:  Introductions to laws are often used to clarify the context of the statute and its intentions.  A library is not an industry or marketplace and library users are not consumers.  Even according to the Oxford English Dictionary, a consumer is "a person who purchases goods and services for personal use."  

From Section 7102. Definitions

COMMENT:  This definition lends further evidence to the interpretation that the Pennsylvania law was never meant to regulate seeds that are not being sold.  The act contains no provision for "Stop-exchanging".

Letter to Mr. Zook

From the Simpson Seed Library Website:

For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s concerns, see:


Simpson Seed Library in the Media

Notes from Leslie Goldman

Subject: RE: Suggested Draft for an additional Protocol and Procedure for adding protocols. Please comment, Johnny.

Date: August 26, 2014 5:27:58 AM PDT

To: Leslie Goldman

Hi Leslie,

However, the protocols get worked out is not so much the issue, but rather does an action(s) cause the activity to be classified as “Seed Distribution”. As long as we can have a logical/reasonable way to say the activity is not seed distribution, then its fine to operate without concern of the Seed Act – speaking for Pennsylvania. Also, in PA, once the Seed Library is big enough it could function within the Seed Act. $25.00 for seed license fee and $7.00 for each 400 seed Germination test would be the ‘cost’; and, not that printing is hard, the seed label can be hand written as long as it is legible.

I am willing to take suggestions, and if you know people have ideas it would be good for me to have them sooner than later.