Seed Notes April 2009


Amanda Hollows
Amanda Hollows & Bob Stewart
Jeff Slaven
Bob Stewart & Jeff Slaven

CCIA provides scholarships to students attending the major agricultural universities in California. These students must indicate an active interest and participation in the seed industry, crop improvement, crop science clubs, seed packaging, seed and plant judging contests and/or activities related to seed production. Each university sets their own due dates and application specifics. For more information please contact the College or Department at each school or Robert Stewart at CCIA, 530-752-9826 ( This past year $1500 scholarships were awarded to:

Jeff Slaven at Cal Poly, Pomona - Plant Science Department
Amanda Hollows at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo - Horticulture & Crop Science Department
Garrett Driver at California State University, Chico - College of Agriculture
Kevin Wayne at California State University, Fresno - Department of Plant Science
Zachary Bower at University of California, Davis - Department of Plant

Elections results

There are 8 elected district directors represented on the CCIA board of directors. Every other year, elections are held for four districts. This year elections were held for districts 2, 4, 6, and 8. The incumbents were re-elected in all four districts. We appreciate their dedication and willingness to serve. The following directors will be seated at the May meeting:
District 2 - Glenn Powell
District 4 - Tom Hearne
District 6 - Jack De Wit
District 8 - Glenn Hawes
A district map is available on the CCIA website at Board of Directors.

Members meeting

All members are invited to attend the annual member’s meeting on May 28, 2009 at 9:00 am in the Prato Room of the Parsons
Seed Certification Center building on the UC Davis campus. If you plan to attend, please contact Kitty Schlosser at 530-752-6979 or We need to make make sure there are seats available for all attending. There is no registration fee; travel and lodging expenses are the responsibility of the member.

Variety amendment

Amendments to variety descriptions, including variant tolerance, have in the past been approved without formal review or  consideration by the original certification authority. Effective January 2009, CCIA will require the certification agency or review board that originally approved the variety accept the amendment before CCIA will recognize the amendment. If the variety was approved
through CCIA’s Certification Technical Committee (CTC), the amendment and supporting experimental data must be submitted to CCIA/CTC for review. The CTC will determine if the changes are substantiated and make a recommendation to the CCIA Board of Directors that the amendment be accepted. For example, variant tolerance amendments must provide credible data to support the
request changing the frequency of variants from what was reported in the original variety described. The entire notice is available as a pdf on the CCIA website.

Certification Technical Committee

The next meeting of the Certification Technical Committee (CTC) is scheduled for April 24, 2009; “Application for Variety Certification” of new varieties to be reviewed by CTC are due in the CCIA office by April 11, 2009. Additional information and applications are available on the CCIA website. The CTC is advisory to the CCIA regarding eligibility of varieties for certification. The committee is made up of members from the CCIA, Department of Plant Sciences, Plant Pathology Department, Foundation Seed Program, California Department of Food and Agriculture, and the United States Department of Agriculture. This committee will review varieties for distinctiveness and genetic stability according to the guidelines established by the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies. The CTC meets three times a year during the months of January, April, and August to review pending varieties.

Seed Lab Recognition Program

Several years ago CCIA closed its seed lab and permitted conditioners to submit seed samples to a seed testing laboratory of their choice. This procedural change was to be accompanied by an auditing system to insure that there was no deterioration in the quality or reputation of certified seed. We are moving forward with a formalization of the auditing. Our new Registered Seed Technologist, Mary Voorhees, will be visiting seed labs and conditioners to collect seed samples, run tests, and compare the results with the submitted information. We would like to remind those of you who are conditioning the seed lots and drawing the samples to please maintain a reserve sample of sufficient size for auditing purposes. We are in the process of updating our standards with respect to the minimum size of the submitted sample required for seed labs in order to insure that labs have adequate samples. Seed labs following AOSA/CCIA analytical procedures will be audited annually and designated as "CCIA Recognized". By 2010, CCIA will accept seed analysis results only from labs which have been recognized.

Spotlight on Sampling

The importance of using best practices in acquiring seed samples for seed analysis can not be understated. No matter how accurately an analysis is made, it can only show the quality of the sample submitted. We have posted the proper seed sampling procedures on the CCIA web site on the "Seed Sampling Procedures" page. If you have any questions about sampling methods please call Timothy Blank at 530-754-4854.

New crop standards

New crop standards are now available for berseem clover, teff, and turfgrass. They are available at the CCIA web site on the “Crop Standards” page.

Organic certification

CCIA was authorized in 2002 to become an Accredited Certifying Agent (ACA) for the purpose of granting Organic Certification status to qualified producers and handlers. The USDA-National Organic Program (NOP) has elected not to renew CCIA as an ACA. Last November CCIA’s status as an ACA was revoked by the USDA-NOP, after over six years working with nearly 100 qualified organic producers and handlers both domestic and international. The official notification by the NOP is in a letter dated November 24, 2008. CCIA is continuing the process of appealing this decision. CCIA was audited by USDA in June 2007. CCIA responded to minor issues of noncompliance and requested additional time to respond to 2 of the issues. Without receiving any response from NOP, CCIA received a letter of intent to revoke our accreditation in July 2008. Our accreditation was then revoked in October 2008 due to a late response to this letter. CCIA intends to work with NOP to regain our ability to act as an Organic Certifying Agent. If you were organically certified by CCIA your organic certification is still intact. If you want to continue to be organically certified you must obtain the services of another ACA. A quote from the USDA-NOP Web Site from December 19, 2008:

“Operations certified by CCIA must make arrangements with another certifying agent to provide their certification as soon as possible. CCIA clients may make arrangements to transfer their certification by contacting any NOP accredited certifying agent.
Operations certified by CCIA remain certified until certification is surrendered, suspended, or revoked. Properly certified and labeled products from CCIA certified operations are still eligible for sale as organic during this transition.”

Staff Focus - Mary Voorhees

Mary VoorheesWe are pleased to welcome Mary Voorhees to CCIA as the Seed Lab Audit Program manager. Mary brings years of experience in agriculture, seed testing and quality control. She was raised on a homestead in Tulelake, California and she farmed for two years raising onions for dehydration. She got her start in the seed industry when she married into the Jenks family in Tangent, Oregon. She first worked in seed testing for Helen Townsend at Townsend Seed Testing, where it was a tradition for the staff, after work on hot summer days, to have a drink and a dip in Helen’s pool. Further seed-related work experience includes; Cal/West Seeds and Vista Research in Woodland, CA, Oregon State University Seed Laboratory, Corvallis, OR, and International Seeds in Halsey, Oregon. Mary is a graduate of Oregon State University with a degree in Business, an AOSA Certified Seed Analyst in Purity and Germination and a SCST Registered Seed Technologist. In addition to her background in agriculture, she has nine years of experience with Hewlett-Packard Company and Agilent Technologies in quality management. At HP she was a process technician for the Advanced Research Lab. At Agilent she had engineering responsibility for a microwave thin film separation area. Her son Brad Jenks lives in Portland, Oregon. Mary says, “I am grateful for this opportunity to use my experience and training in quality management and seed analysis and I look forward to serving CCIA members and the labs that provide seed testing services.”