By 1950 the certified seed program had 1,429 growers with 65,412 acres. It became obvious that more help was needed in carrying on the work; therefore, Mr. Burt Ray was employed in 1950. Just prior to this period, certified alfalfa seed came into prominence in California as a result of alfalfa breeders deciding that winter hardy types of alfalfa seed could be grown in a warm climate if production was limited to first generation stands. Such a requirement made certification a natural to assure that alfalfa seed coming out of a warm region would be satisfactory for planting in cold areas--thus there came about the beginning of a large scale certified alfalfa seed industry in California.
In 1953 Warren Johnson was employed by the State Department of Agriculture out of Crop Improvement Association funds to assist agricultural commissioners in carrying out the regulatory functions of the certified seed program. It was during this same year that the Certified Alfalfa Seed Council was born. Since that time it has become favorably known throughout the United States as an exceptionally high type of promotion program devoted to the increased usage of certified alfalfa seed.
In 1955 there were 1,498 growers with 178,044 acres including virtually every field crop grown in California. Ranger alfalfa, as an example, rapidly expanded from 44,000 acres in 1954 to 88,000 acres in 1955.
In 1957 the Crop Improvement Association inspected 210,000 acres--an all time high for the state. That same year 66,000,000 pounds of alfalfa was certified--an industry which accounts for over 4/5 of the certified alfalfa seed produced in the nation and more than 1/3 of the total alfalfa seed planted in the nation.
In 1958 another position was added to the staff managing the state certification program. In February of that year Mr. Robert Ball was employed to spend full time in the certification office and direct most of the day to day details of the program. Mr. Warren Johnson was transferred to other work, and was replaced by Mr. Lawrence A. Schacker. By this time 129 varieties of crops were being certified, seed of which had a total value of between $25,000,000 and $30,000,000. Much of this is in seeds that are exported out of the state for use elsewhere in the nation or world. A large part of the value of the program, however, is in providing good seed for planting by California farmers.