New Jersey Seed Law

Text of the New Jersey State Seed Law | Text of the New Jersey Seed Rules

Summary: The New Jersey seed law regulates seeds that are "sold" in the state. However, the statute does not clearly define the words "sold" or "sell." From seed laws of other states, these terms can include "exchanges" where no money changes hands. The statute should clarify what exactly "sold" means and exempt seed libraries if they do in fact come under the law’s scope.

New Jersey Seed Rules

(The New Jersey "Seed Rules," as opposed to the "Seed Law," are rules promulgated by the New Jersey Office of Administrative Law [OAL]. The OAL implements the Administrative Procedure Act, N.J.S.A. 52:14B-1 et seq., advising executive branch agencies on how to make rules and requiring the agencies to follow statutorily prescribed steps in rule-making. Further, it must ensure that the formulation of rules includes adequate opportunity for input by anyone interested and affected.)

2:21-1.1  Seed for planting purposes

Seeds offered for sale or exposed for sale, or transported in the State, when the vendor either orally, in writing, or in advertising implies that such goods are "suitable for seed," "fit for seed," or similar terms shall be deemed to be offered for sale for planting purposes.

Note: While the definitions in this section refer to seeds offered for sale for planting purposes, the term "sale" and the phrase "exposed for sale" are not clearly defined. These terms may include activities of seed libraries. The rules should specifically define these terms and expressly excuse seed libraries. 


New Jersey State Seed Law

4:8-17.13. Definitions   

(d) The term "agricultural seeds" means and includes the seeds of grass, forage, cereal and fiber crops and any other kinds of seeds, commonly recognized within this State as agricultural seeds, lawn seeds and mixtures of such seeds, and may include noxious weed seeds when the State Seed Analyst determines that such seed is being used as agricultural seed.                                                  

(e) The term "vegetable seed" means and includes the seeds of those crops which are grown in gardens and on truck farms and are generally known and sold under the name of vegetables or herbs in this State.                                        


 4:8-17.15. Labels

Each container of agricultural, vegetable, flower, tree and shrub seeds which is sold, offered for sale, or exposed for sale, or transported within this State for sowing purposes shall bear thereon or have attached thereto or in a conspicuous place on the exterior of the container a plainly written or printed label or tag in the English language, in legible type or in script specifying:


4:8-17.16. Unlawful sale or transportation 

Note: Again, there is no definition for "sell" or "offer for sale." Without a clear definition of sell or an explicit exclusion of seed libraries, the seed law might prohibit seed library activity.                                               

No person shall sell, offer for sale, or transport for sale any agricultural, vegetable, flower, tree or shrub seed within this State: 


Note: The testing requirements may prohibit certain seed library activities. 

      (f) Containing more than 1% by weight of all weed seeds. 


4:8-17.17. Other unlawful acts 


No person within this State shall -- 


Note: Since "sell" or "sale" is not defined, there is no way of knowing whether a stop sale applies to seed libraries. 


4:8-17.19. Applicability of sections 4:8-17.15 to 4:8-17.17 

The provisions of sections 3, 4 and 5 of this act shall not apply to: (a) Seed or grain not intended for sowing purposes; 



4:8-17.19a. Inapplicability of act to seeds sold directly by grower 


No provision of the New Jersey State Seed Law (Revision of 1963, P.L.1963, c. 29 (C. 4:8-17.13 et seq.) shall apply to seeds produced by a farmer on his own premises and sold by him directly to the consumer, provided the farmer is not engaged in the business of selling seeds not produced by him.