Nebraska Crop Improvement Association is the designated authority to perform seed certification in the State of Nebraska. NCIA along with associates in other states and countries collectively form a network of agencies better known as the Association of Official Seed Certification Agencies (AOSCA).
Seed certification is a program of planned production, record keeping, unbiased inspections, and rigid standards to insure the production of high quality seed that is true to the variety. Plant breeders produce superior varieties by overseeing production of genetically pure seed stocks, NCIA provides the vital link between plant breeders and farmers who benefit from these advances. Certified seed is labeled with a blue Certified tag and sold by variety name. The blue Certified tag is a symbol of the high quality standards of certification resulting in dependable performance.
Certification is a limited generation concept whereby genetic purity is maintained. New varieties developed by plant breeders are increased to supply farmers with high quality, varietal pure seed with superior performance. Breeder Seed is developed and maintained by the plant breeders of public research institutions and private companies. Foundation Seed is the first generation from Breeder seed and is rogued for off-types to meet variety descriptions and strict Foundation purity standards. Certified Seed is the first generation from Foundation seed produced by seed producers for sale to farmers to use in planting their commercial grain acreage.
The purpose of the NCIA’s seed Quality Assurance (QA) program is to provide an unbiased and uniform quality control process and marketing tool for crop seeds grown in Nebraska and merchandised as branded products as permitted by applicable seed laws. Seed enterprises voluntarily participate and will customize the process to meet their individual needs by using some or all of the services including field inspection, seed analysis, record-keeping, and labeling. In order for a producer to label seed with the QA logo, all steps in the program must be completed satisfactorily, meeting the same goals and standards as Certified seed.
AOSCA’s general IP standards were intentionally designed to be minimal in nature to provide a consistent framework for more specific programs which may be designed and implemented under the auspices of AOSCA. The goal was to establish minimum benchmark levels for the production of IP grain. It is the expectation of AOSCA and NCIA that many U.S. companies will strive to exceed the minimum benchmarks and enlist NCIA assistance in designing and conducting company programs to do so.
In June 1999 AOSCA also adopted specific program requirements for non-gmo corn and soybeans. It is to be understood that these programs are generally applicable at the “field edge”. The upper suggested purity levels for corn and soybean grain programs are 99 and 99.5 percent which are indicative of AOSCA’s beliefs that 100 percent non-gmo is unattainable. Companies may select lower purity goals for their programs.
NCIA offers our programs on a “best effort” basis, but assumes no liability as to actual purity levels delivered. Customers are expected to make the final determination of any specific program protocols to be followed and to establish the ultimate purity level for individualized programs submitted for inclusion in AOSCA’s third party Identity Preserved program.
NCIA specializes in providing third party services in the areas of record keeping, field inspection, herbicide tolerance detection, laboratory testing and in providing official labeling both for domestic and the international OECD Seed Schemes.