Tennessee Seed Law

Tennessee seed law available on public LexisNexis site, here.  



43-10-102. Legislative purpose. 

 The purpose of this part is to regulate the labeling, possessing, offering, exposing, transporting or distributing for sale of agricultural seeds, vegetable seeds, and screenings; to prevent misrepresentations thereof; and for other purposes.


43-10-103. Part definitions. 


 (2) "Agricultural seeds" includes the seeds of grass, forage, cereal, and fiber crops and other kinds of seeds commonly recognized within this state as agricultural seeds, lawn seeds, and mixture of such seeds, and may include noxious-weed seeds when the commissioner determines that such seed is being used as agricultural seed;


 (27) "Pure seed" means agricultural or vegetable seeds, exclusive of inert matter, weed seeds and all other seeds distinguishable from the kind or kind and variety being considered when examined according to procedures prescribed by rules and regulations promulgated pursuant to this part;


 (40) "Vegetable seeds" includes the seeds of those crops that are grown in gardens or truck farms and are generally known and sold under the name of vegetable seed in this state; and


 (25) "Person" includes any individual, partnership, corporation, company, society, association, or legal entity;


 (32) "Seed offered for sale" means any seed or grain whether in bags, packets, bins, or other containers, exposed in sales rooms, storerooms, warehouses, or other places where seed is sold or delivered for seeding purposes, and shall be subject to this part, unless clearly labeled "not for sale as seed";

  (33) "Seed seller" means a person who buys, sells, offers for sale, exposes for sale, distributes, or solicits orders for the sale of agricultural or vegetable seeds for seeding purposes, and includes any person who has seed grown under contract for resale for seeding purposes;


 (35) "Stop sale" means an administrative order provided by law restraining the sale, use, disposition and movement of a definite amount of seed;


 (38) "Ultimate consumer" means a person who purchases seed with no intention to resell the seed;


43-10-104. Label requirements. 

  Each container of agricultural and vegetable seeds that is sold, offered or exposed for sale, distributed or transported within or into this state for seeding purposes shall bear thereon or have attached thereto in a conspicuous place a plainly written or printed label or tag in the English language, giving the information required under §§ 43-10-105 -- 43-10-108, which information shall not be modified or denied in the labeling or on another label attached to the container.


43-10-109. Prohibitions. 

  It is unlawful for any person to:

   (1) Transport, offer for transportation, sell, distribute, offer or expose for sale within this state agricultural seed or vegetable seeds for seeding purposes:

      (A) Unless a seed license has been obtained in accordance with this part;

      (B) Unless the test to determine the percentage of germination required by §§ 43-10-106 -- 43-10-108 has been completed within a nine-month period, exclusive of the calendar month in which the test was completed immediately prior to sale, exposure for sale, or offering for sale or transportation;

      (C) Not labeled in accordance with this part 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 (tolerance not permitted);

      (F) Containing restricted noxious-weed seeds, except as prescribed by rules and regulations promulgated under this part;

      (G) Containing weed seeds in excess of two percent (2%) by weight unless otherwise provided in rules and regulations promulgated under this part;

      (H) That have been treated and not labeled as required;

      (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) Represented to be certified, registered, or foundation seed, unless it has been produced, processed and labeled in accordance with the procedures and in compliance with rules and regulations of an official seed certifying agency;

      (K) Represented to be hybrid, unless such seed conforms to the definition of a "hybrid" as defined in this part;

      (L) Unless it conforms to the definition of a "lot"; or

      (M) By variety name seed not certified by an official seed certifying agency when it is a variety for which a certificate of plant variety protection under the Plant Variety Protection Act specifies sale only as a class of certified seed; provided, that seed from a certified lot may be labeled as to variety name when used in a mixture by, or with the approval of, the owner of the variety;

   (2) Advertise by variety name or make any representations to a particular variety, when the variety is protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act for sale only as a class of certified seed, if it has not been certified by an official seed certification agency, except as provided in subdivision (1)(M);

   (3) Transport, offer for transportation, sell, distribute, offer or expose for sale seeds, whole grain, and screenings not for seeding purposes unless labeled "not for seeding purposes";

   (4) Detach, alter, deface, or destroy any label provided for in this part or the rules and regulations promulgated under this part, or to alter or substitute seed in any manner that defeats the purpose of this part;

   (5) Disseminate false or misleading advertisement in any manner concerning agricultural seeds, vegetable seeds or screenings;

   (6) Hinder or obstruct in any manner an authorized agent of the commissioner in the performance of such agent’s lawful duties;

   (7) Fail to comply with or to supply inaccurate information in reply to a stop-sale order, or remove tags attached to, or move or dispose of, seed or screenings held under stop-sale order, except as specified by the enforcement officer;

   (8) Use the name of the department of agriculture or the results of tests and inspections made by the department for advertising purposes;

   (9) Sell, offer or expose for sale, or give away the seeds or plants of Johnson grass or seed indistinguishable from Johnson grass seed, such as Sorghum alum;

   (10) Use the words "type" or "trace" in lieu of information required by § 43-10-105 through this section;

   (11) Label and offer for sale seed under the scope of this part without keeping complete records as specified in § 43-10-111; or

   (12) Sell, distribute, offer or expose for sale tobacco seed for seeding purposes unless the seed has been certified by an official seed certifying agency.


43-10-110. Exemptions. 

  (a) Sections 43-10-104 -- 43-10-108 do not apply:

   (1) To seed or grain sold or represented to be sold for purposes other than for seeding; provided, that the seed is labeled "not for seeding purposes" and that the seed seller shall make it unmistakably clear to the purchaser of such seed or grain that it is not for seeding purposes;

   (2) To seed for conditioning when consigned to being transported to or stored in a conditioning establishment; provided, that the invoice or labeling accompanying the seed bears the statement "Seed for conditioning"; and provided further, that other labeling or representation that may be made with respect to the uncleaned or unconditioned seed shall be subject to this part;

   (3) When grown, sold, and delivered by the producer on the producer’s own premises, to the purchaser personally for seeding purposes. If, however, the seed is advertised for sale through any public medium or if the seed is delivered by a common carrier, except transported for the purposes of being recleaned as hereinafter provided, the seed must be labeled in accordance with this part; and

   (4) To any carrier in respect to any seed or screenings transported or delivered for transportation in the ordinary course of its business as a carrier; provided, that such carrier is not engaged in producing, conditioning, or marketing agricultural or vegetable seeds or screenings subject to this part.

(b) No person shall be subject to the penalties of this part for having sold, offered or exposed for sale in this state any agricultural or vegetable seeds that were incorrectly labeled or represented as to origin, kind, or variety when such seeds cannot be identified by examination, unless such person has failed to obtain an invoice or genuine grower’s declaration giving origin, kind, and variety or to take such other precautions as may be necessary to ensure the identity to be that stated.