This spring some farmers will be forced to take the prevented plant clause under their crop insurance. That means they will be buying cover crop seed for those acres. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is advising farmers about the legal requirements for buying and selling seed in Minnesota which includes cover crop seed. Minnesota's Seed Law regulates seed sales in Minnesota plus the federal Plant Variety Protection Act regulates intellectual property protection.

The MDA has seen several issues in recent years that violated Minnesota's Seed Law. For example, it is not legal to buy grain from an elevator for the purpose of sowing it. It is also illegal to brown bag or sell grain out of a bin. In addition all seed sold in Minnesota must be labeled. "There are numerous reasons why Minnesota's Seed Law restricts these activities," said Denis Thied, MDA's Seed Unit Supervisor. "Farmers could be bringing in weeds through unlabeled and untested seed, or they may not be getting the type or quality of seed they paid for."

If you are buying cover crop seed to plant on your farm, the MDA offers the following advice:

1. Make sure the seed has a label.

2. Confirm the seed has been tested for noxious weed seed, including Palmer amaranth.

3. Make sure that it is a legal sale by asking the seller if they have the legal authority to sell the product.

4. Ask about the variety of seed. A variety protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act must be sold by variety name and may be required to be sold as a class of certified seed.

If you have questions or concerns go to the MDA website or call the MDA!