California Crop Improvement Association
University of California
California Crop Improvement Association

Industrial Hemp Seed Certification Standards

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GENERAL STANDARDS -- The standards on this sheet are in part condensed and apply to Industrial Hemp. For greater detail and additional provisions, see the General Standards. All production of industrial hemp is subject to registration, license application and approval by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and the County Agricultural Commissioner in whose county the crop is grown. Only varieties of industrial hemp that are approved by the CDFA and California Crop Improvement Association (CCIA) are eligible for certification. The size of an industrial hemp research area or production field may be determined by the regulatory authorities in California.

PLANTING STOCK -- In most varieties Breeder seed must be planted to produce Foundation seed, Foundation seed must be planted to produce Registered seed, and Registered seed must be planted to produce Certified seed. Nursery propagation for plants intended for cannabidiol (CBD) production and processing in California will be certified by generations instead of seed classes.

APPLICATION -- Applications should be submitted electronically on CCIA’s website (Application to grow and certify seed) as soon as possible and no later than four (4) weeks after planting. New applicants should contact the CCIA office for instructions on obtaining access to the online application system. Applicants must attach to the application the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) test results of the crop that produced the planting stock or propagules.

FIELD ELIGIBILITY -- Crops should not be grown on land where remnant seed from a previous crop may germinate and produce volunteers that may cause contamination. Crops for Foundation and Registered classes of industrial hemp seed must not be grown on land that produced another crop of industrial hemp in the previous 5 years. Crops for Certified class seed must not be grown on land that had an industrial hemp crop in the preceding 3 years.

ISOLATION -- There shall not be any Cannabis sativa plants within 330 ft of the inspected crop. However, not more than 4 plants per acre of harmful contaminants (including species other than Cannabis sativa that can cross pollinate with the inspected crop) shall be permitted beyond 330 ft within the isolation distance of the inspected crop (see Table 1).

The minimum isolation distances between a field of industrial hemp and fields of other crops prior to flowering and field inspection are presented in Table 1. If Dioecious male plants within the seed production field start flowering before removal from field, all plants around them should be destroyed for a radius of 10 feet for Foundation and 6 feet for Registered seed crops. All fields or portions of fields intended for certification must have a definite boundary such as a fence, ditch, roadway, levee, or barren strip at least ten (10) feet wide.

Table 1. Minimum Isolation Distances between Inspected Industrial Hemp and Other Crops

Inspected Crop Other Crops Isolation Distance (feet)
Dioecious type -
   Foundation Class
   Registered Class
-Different varieties of Industrial Hemp
-Non-certified crops of same kind
16,150 
-Lower certified class seed crop of same variety 6,460 
-Same class of certified seed of same variety
Dioecious type -
   Certified Class
-Different varieties of Industrial Hemp
-Non-certified crops of same kind
3,230 
-Lower certified class seed crop of same variety 646 
-Same class of certified seed of same variety
Monoecious and Hybrid types - 
   Foundation Class
   Registered Class

 

 -Dioecious varieties of Industrial Hemp
-Non-certified crops of same kind

 16,150 

-Different varieties of same type of IndustrialHemp [Monoecious or female hybrid]

6,460 
-Lower certified class seed crop of same variety 3,230 
-Same class of certified seed of same variety
Monoecious and Hybrid types -
   Certified Class
-Dioecious varieties of Industrial Hemp
-Non-certified crops of same kind
3,230 
-Different varieties of same type of IndustrialHemp [Monoecious or female hybrid]
-Lower certified class seed crop of same variety
646 
-Same class of certified seed of same variety

 

FIELD INSPECTION -- It is the grower’s responsibility to ensure that the field is inspected by the CCIA field inspector at least twice prior to swathing or harvesting, except in the case of Foundation and Registered monoecious types and unisexual female hybrids, in which three inspections are required. Seed from a field that is cut, swathed or harvested prior to field inspection is not eligible for certification. Fields must be inspected at a stage of growth when varietal purity is best determined. Fields not inspected at the proper stage for best determination of varietal purity may be rejected. The presence of Broomrape (Orobanche spp.) in an industrial hemp field may be cause for rejection.

The first inspection will be made before female (pistillate) flowers of the inspected crop are receptive and after the formation of male (staminate) flowers, preferably before pollen is shed. The second inspection will be made during the receptive stage of the female plants in the inspected field, normally within 3 weeks of first inspection. If a third inspection is necessary or required, it will be made when off-type female flowers can be identified. Isolation areas will be inspected for volunteer industrial hemp plants and harmful contaminants at each inspection.

Off-Types -- Impurities and off-types should be rogued prior to field inspection. Any combination of impurities may be cause for rejection. An industrial hemp crop for Certified Class, unless otherwise specified by the Breeder, must not exceed the limits of harmful contaminants (species that can cross
pollinate with the inspected crop), plants of other varieties or distinct types foreign to the variety being inspected, weeds or other crops with seeds that are difficult to separate from industrial hemp seed (e.g. Hemp Nettle) as outlined in Table 2. The table indicates the maximum number of impurities and off-types permitted by CCIA in approximately 10,000 plants of the inspected crop. A field inspector will make at least 6 counts (10,000 plants each) or the equivalent to determine the number of impurities. The average of these counts must not exceed the maximum impurity standards presented in Table 2.

Table 2. Maximum Impurity and Off-type Standards.

Inspected Crop  Maximum impurities per 10,000 plants in Registered and Certified Class Industrial Hemp seed crops  
Maximum number of ‘Too Male’ Monoecious plants Maximum number of Dioecious male plants shedding pollen Maximum number of other impurities
Dioecious type -
Foundation
 -  -   3
Dioecious type - 
Registered and Certified
 -  -  10
Monoecious type
Foundation
 500   1   3
Monoecious type
Registered
 1,000   2  10 
Monoecious type and Hybrids
Certified
 100 10 

 

Weeds -- Fields must be free of any prohibited noxious weeds. Restricted noxious weeds and common weeds difficult to separate must be controlled. Prohibited and Restricted noxious weeds are listed in the California Seed Law/CA Code of Regulations/Sections 3854 and 3855. See California Seed Law - Prohibited and Restricted Noxious Weed List.
Fields may be rejected due to unsatisfactory appearance caused by weeds, poor growth, poor stand, disease, insect damage, and any other condition that prevents accurate inspection or creates doubt as to identity of the variety.
A field inspection report will be available online for the applicant. If the field is approved, a certification number will be assigned. This number must be on all containers of seed before they leave the field. It is the responsibility of the applicant to make sure their field has been inspected before it is harvested.

HARVESTING -- Harvesting is subject to the supervision of the County Agricultural Commissioner who must be contacted prior to harvest. Any seed moved out of the county for conditioning must be accompanied by an Inter-County or Inter-State Seed Transfer Certificate issued by the Commissioner.

CONDITIONING AND SAMPLING -- Conditioning of seed for certification may be done only in facilities approved for this purpose by the CCIA. It is the responsibility of the applicant to determine if the plant is eligible before delivering seed for conditioning. Conditioning, sampling, reconditioning, and
blending will be conducted under the supervision of the County Agricultural Commissioner. Conditioning equipment must be free from contaminating seed to the satisfaction of the supervising inspector.

SEED INSPECTION -- All seed must be sampled and tested after conditioning and the seed lot must meet or exceed seed certification standards for that crop. A seed lab using the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) “Rules for Testing Seeds” must test the sample. A Registered Seed Technologist must sign each lab analysis. In addition to AOSA rules, specific seed testing may be required to meet CCIA seed certification standards. Applicants must also submit THC test results of the seed crop to CCIA before the Seed Inspection Report is issued.

The conditioner is required to submit a 450 gram sample to the laboratory for analysis. (Submitted Sample Sizes for Certification). In some instances, varietal identity cannot be determined by visual seed inspections. Seed must be well screened and graded, bright in color, of good appearance and meet the following standards:

Pure seed  98.00% (Minimum) 
Inert Matter*  2.00% (Maximum)
Other Crop Seed 
-  Foundation  0.10% (Maximum)
-  Registered  0.03% (Maximum)
-  Certified  0.08% (Maximum)
 Other Varieties 
-  Foundation   0.005% (Maximum)
-  Registered  0.01% (Maximum)
-  Certified  0.05% (Maximum)
Other Kinds**
-  Foundation   0.01% (Maximum)
-  Registered  0.03% (Maximum)
-  Certified  0.07% (Maximum)
Weed Seed  0.10% (Maximum)
Germination   80.00% (Minimum)

 

*Inert matter shall not include more than 0.5 per cent of material other than seed fragments of thevariety under consideration.

**Other kinds shall not exceed 2 per lb. (454 grams) for Foundation, 6 for Registered, 10 for Certified.

The CCIA requires Reports of Analysis for initial certification to be dated no more than a maximum of six (6) months prior to the request for seed certification. The ‘Purity Analysis’ and ‘Germination’ must be conducted on the same laboratory seed sample and those results must be presented in a single Report of Analysis.

FINAL CERTIFICATION AND TAGGING -- If the seed sample meets all standards a seed inspection report is issued. Before certification is complete, however, each container must have an official tag or label attached. Certified seed may be sold to a grower in bulk without tagging if a properly filled out Bulk Sale Certificate accompanies the shipment. The tags and Bulk Sale Certificates are issued by the CCIA to the County Agricultural Commissioner who supervises their attachment.

Date: February 2018

 

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