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California Crop Improvement Association
University of California
California Crop Improvement Association

History 1930-1939

The Pure Seed Association while operating independently of the University of California early saw the need for cooperating closely with it. J. Earl Coke, then Extension Agronomist with the University, became interested in the certification cause and recommended a new approach at a Farm Bureau meeting at Asilomar, November 10, 1930. He proposed a system of seed certification which is similar to that of today. It was based, however, rather largely on the proposition that the work of the program could be carried on successfully at the county level with local county committees doing field inspection and, with the aid of the farm advisor, carrying out most of the functions of the program.

This new program was known as the Approved Seed Plan. The field Crops Department of the Farm Bureau appointed a state committee which worked closely with the agricultural extension service and the Department of Agronomy to guide the program. The first crop produced under the Approved Seed Plan was grown in 1931. The Approved Seed Plan while operating unofficially that year was more or less officially adopted as a state program in January of 1932. The use of the word "certified" to describe the product appears not to have been used at any time following 1929. The word "Calapproved" was coined, and seems to have been used first in July 1932. The word was copywrited by the California Farm Bureau Feder­ation and continued to be used for a good many years.

The state committee guiding the Approved Seed Plan, which by 1936 had become known as the California Farm Bureau Approved Seed Plan, became more formally organized in 1936. Five districts were formed in the state, each of which elected a grower representative. In addition to this there were appointed representatives from the Extension Service, Department of Agronomy, and the Farm Bureau. J. E. Coke remained the guiding light in the program through 1934. Mr. B.J. Jones succeeded Mr. Coke in 1935, and continued to provide the leadership of the Agricultural Extension Service. Coke and Jones, throughout the period of the state office function being with the Agricultural Extension Service, worked closely with members of the Department of Agronomy at Davis. Individuals in that department who played a prominent part in guiding the program were F. N. Briggs, G. A. Wiebe, and C. A. Suneson. The crops of primary interest still remained the small grains. However, the certification of light red kidney beans got under way in 1932 and became successful due considerably to the efforts of M. C. Collins, then Farm Advisor of Yuba County. As a result of his enthusiastic participation, seed growers in the Marysville area began to develop a market for their certified light red kidney beans in the State of New York, which found that the California seed was free of diseases particularly bacterial blight.

The interest in certification expanded rapidly during the 30's. It became obvious that the program could not be operated indefinitely as an incidental part of the extension agronomists' activities. This was indicated in a letter Mr. Alex Johnson of the Farm Bureau sent to the University of California on February 24, 1936. He referred to a resolution by the Farm Bureau asking the College of Agriculture to assign a separate man to the Calapproved Seed Program. The program which had started in 1931 with 1,265 acres had become by 1935 a program with 7,233 acres and 113 growers participating.

The work of the program continued to be carried in 1936 and 1937 by Jones, Briggs, and Suneson. In the mean time it was agreed by the Agricultural Extension Service and the Department of Agronomy that a man should be employed whose entire time would be spent on approved seed. It was finally agreed that such a position could best be provided for by the Department of Agronomy. The position was created and filled by F. G. Parsons, December 1, 1937. By this time it was apparent that while the use of the term "Calapproved” had many desirable features the rest of the country was confused as to whether or not it was equivalent to the term "certified" as used in other states. The use of the word "certified" therefore was begun again in 1940 by which time there were 277 growers in California with 16,358 acres.

History 1940-1949

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