Seed Notes January 2015

New Executive Director

John PalmerCCIA is pleased to announce John Palmer has accepted the position of Executive Director, effective January 5, 2015.

John Palmer was born in Oakland, CA and raised in Palo Alto and Fremont, CA. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Plant Science from UC Davis and a Master’s Degree in Agronomy from Kansas State University. Prior to 2009 when John joined Cal/West Seeds in Woodland, CA, he worked in the San Joaquin Valley for J. G. Boswell Company, Dow AgroSciences, California Planting Cotton Seed Distributers, Bayer CropScience and Absorbent Technologies spanning a 29 year period.

In July 2009, John was hired as Operations Manager for Cal/West Seeds located in Woodland, CA. In 2012, the company was acquired by Dow AgroSciences and merged with the alfalfa program of Dairyland Seed Company to become Alforex Seeds. John then became the Supply Chain & Quality Laboratory Leader with overall responsibility for inventory and oversight of the sales logistics group and quality lab.

John served previously on the CCIA Board of Directors in three non-consecutive terms totaling 18 years.

Annual Members Meeting

All members are invited to attend the annual CCIA member’s meeting on February 26, 2015 at 9:00 am. The meeting will be held in the Prato Room of the Parsons Seed Certification Center on the UC Davis campus. Directions to the site are available on the CCIA website; parking permits must be purchased in the parking lot for $9.

In order to be sure there are seats for all attending, if you plan to attend, please contact Katy Soden by email at or phone 530-752-6979. There is no registration fee; travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the member.

Renewal of Perennial Crops

We wish to welcome you to the 2015 crop year at the CCIA, which actually began October 1, 2014. It is that time of year again to start organizing our field activities. We hope that you have planted new alfalfa, clover, asparagus and bermudagrass fields or should be doing so in the near future. On the other hand, you are probably considering decisions for fields of these crops that you had in the certification program last year. As you know, applications for perennial crops must be renewed annually and these are offered on the CCIA website as of January 1, 2015. These applications should be submitted electronically no later than February 15.

A choice of ‘Renew’ means the production field will be used for seed in the current crop season. A ‘No Crop’ renewal application is chosen if a seed crop will not be produced in the current crop season but the field will remain in the certification program for future seed production. A ‘Cancelled’ renewal application is chosen if the field will not be used for seed production and will be removed from the certification program.

Please submit the renewal applications prior to February 15 so that we can properly organize our resources for the anticipated field inspections later in the season. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions with the renewal process.

Director Election Results

Director elections were held for the odd numbered districts. There was a tie in District I between Bill Suits and Ray Johnson; the winner was decided by a coin toss and so we welcome Bill Suits as a new director on the board.

We thank Ray Johnson for his many years representing District I on the board. He has served as President and Vice-President, served on many committees and provided essential support to the CCIA. Other results are below; all directors will be seated at the February board meeting.

District I - Bill Suits
District III - Frank Saviez
District V - Bob Baglietto
District VII - Charles Schonauer

Update from the CCIA AASCO Seed Sampler Training Program

seed sampledSeed business within and particularly across State lines is premised on the principle of ‘Truth-in-Labeling’ according to both the California State Law and the Federal Seed Act. To a grower or any customer, the quality of certified seed is inferred from a seed label.

Information that is contained on the label is obtained from a test that is done by a seed laboratory on a seed sample from a seed lot. It is prudent that the sample on which a seed test is conducted best reflects the seed lot from which it came. Proper collection of the sample, therefore, serves as the first and primary step in seed testing. The Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) has determined appropriate and approved sampling equipment and procedures which when followed result in such a representative seed sample. For a long time, the California Crop Improvement Association (CCIA) relied on verbal confirmation that seed samplers, taking samples for seed lots that are subsequently certified, are knowledgeable of these AOSA Sampling Guidelines. However, today one cannot rely on verbal confirmation alone since such may not withstand litigation in court. Seed samplers should demonstrate and have proper documentation asserting that they meet requisite criteria and standards for certification.

The CCIA, in conjunction with the Association of American Seed Control Officials (AASCO), are conducting a Seed Sampler Training Program in which seed samplers from individual conditioners, private seed companies and public organizations are trained in the use of AOSA approved procedures and equipment for seed sampling.

seed samplingOne benefit of this training is uniformity of seed sampling across the state. After successful completion, sampler candidates are certified for a period of three (3) years. We trained 98 seed samplers in 2013 and 65 in 2014. Next year we will complete the first 3 years of this program. In 2016 we will begin to re-train samplers that were trained in the previous 3 years. The CCIA would like to have only samplers that are certified take samples for lots that are certified by the Certification Agency. Our database will be enhanced to have samplers or conditioners input their names and/or their AASCO IDs on the seed certification applications. Only those lots whose samples were obtained by these certified samplers will be certified. The CCIA provided a 3-year grace period for all organizations to have samplers certified and by 2015 all such organizations are expected to have certified samplers.

Scholarships Awarded

Thomas BrianCal Poly, San Luis Obispo - Thomas Brian is a second year student majoring in Agricultural and Environmental Plant Sciences with a concentration in Crop Science. He is interested in the seed industry because he wants a career that matters and makes a difference in the world and thinks it is an essential industry not only for future improvement of crops, but also it is essential in the process of providing food for the world.

He has had multiple summers of work experience in both the seed and crop health industries working with Pioneer Hi-Bred and Wilbur Ellis. He also has two older brothers working in agriculture; one is a PCA, and the other is working in vine seed production. Both have shared experiences that have broadened his understanding of seed production and the agricultural world as well.

Michael BradfordCalifornia State University, Fresno - Michael Bradford is a plant health student working towards his bachelor’s degree. He joined the Air Force reserves in 1998 and is still serving at Travis Air force base. Michael spent 8 years working as a pharmacy technician and had begun to go back to school to become a pharmacist.

But after taking a botany course at Woodland Community College, he shifted his major from pharmacy to plant health and had the opportunity to work as a summer field inspector for the CCIA for the past 3 summers inspecting sunflower and rice fields. This experience has helped broaden his knowledge of the agricultural industry. Michael’s interest in botany has turned into a passion he shares with his family and hopes to make a positive impact in the ag industry.

Bean Conditioners

When you send in bean samples for Bean lots that are intended for certification please request Purity, Noxious, Germ and Bean Standards Testing.

These standards have been in effect, however, the CCIA staff needed to verify the data manually. The CCIA website is now able to track these standards. Seed testing Reports of Analysis that do not include Bean Standards reporting will be rejected. We don’t want this to happen.

Conditioners are required to request that the seed laboratory of their choice perform proper testing and report complete test results for all CCIA Crop Standard requirements. The AOSA Seed Testing Report of Analysis data requires:

  • Pure Seed
  • Weeds
  • Inert Matter
  • Noxious Weeds
  • Other Crop
  • Germination and hard seed

The CCIA additional certification standards for bean include measurements that are similar to the USDA Standards for Bean and include the following four items:

  • Foreign Matter: stones, dirt, broken glass, metal fragments, cereal grains, lentils, peas, and all matter other than beans.
  • Splits and Cracks: pieces of beans that are not damaged, each of which consists of three-fourths or less of the whole bean. ‘Cracks’ include any sound bean where the halves are held together loosely.
  • Badly Discolored: beans are discolored by frost, weather, disease or other causes so as to materially affect the appearance and quality of the beans.
  • Chewing Insect Damage: beans or pieces of beans that are damaged by weevils or other insects.

Please don’t keep your lab guessing…request the required testing on the lots intended for certification. If you have questions, comments or concerns please call Mary Voorhees at 530-754-2249.

See the complete Bean Standards.

International Delegations

Delegation at tableThe CCIA is periodically asked to give presentations to visiting international delegations. These groups desire to learn about seed certification in general and are often interested in a specific aspect of the work we do. The delegations often include governmental officials, university professors, researchers, and private industry representatives.

Over the past year, we gave presentations to groups from China, Pakistan, Egypt, and Thailand. Topics of interest included seed laws, coexistence in alfalfa seed production, prevention of the spread of particular potato diseases through seed certification, and dynamics of the California rice seed industry. By meeting with these delegations CCIA staff members strive to promote California certified seed and maintain the high reputation that the seed industry in California has throughout the world.

Updated CCIA Website

No one likes to hear that a website they use regularly has been updated but it has to happen occasionally in order to keep the site from appearing outdated. In the next month or so the CCIA website will have a fresh new look.

The new site was designed to keep much of the information in the same places so it should not be difficult to find what you are looking for, however, you will need to update your bookmarks as the web address to the pages will have changed. The home page address will remain the same:

Links related to the CCIA contacts, location, board of directors, newsletters, and useful web links have been moved to a top menu in the gold colored bar. The links on the left menu are used for seed certification information and have been left the same as the current web site. A calendar of events related to the seed industry will be displayed on the home page. We hope you will find the updated pages user friendly.