The purpose of Seed certification is to maintain the genetic and mechanical purity, and identity of seed through all steps of production, harvesting, storage, and conditioning. Close cooperation of the certifying agency, grower, conditioner, and distributor of the seed is required for a successful program. The certification process is accomplished when seed meets specific minimum requirements as established by regulation. The certification system involves a limited generation or pedigree system which is comprised of four classes of seed. Each class, except for breeder seed, must meet minimum established standards, and is denoted by a tag of a specific color. Breeder Seed: The initial stock seed produced by the breeder or institution supplying the variety. Breeder seed is not normally found in commercial channels. Foundation Seed: ‘White tag seed’ produced from Breeder seed. Registered Seed: ‘Purple tag seed’ produced from foundation seed. Certified Seed: ‘Blue tag seed’ produced from registered seed.
Seed certification is based on a record system which documents the entire process from the initial application for field inspection through tagging of the seed.