American farmers have been growing industrial hemp since the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill, however, the industry is still dealing with unreliable seed providers.
Adding further confusion to the already unregulated seed buying process, some sellers offer certified while other verified seeds – leaving many farmers questioning which is better.
This lack of transparency can be incredibly frustrating and add unnecessary stress to the process. So, let’s add some clarity between these two terms once and for all to help you determine what kind of seed testing is right for you.
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What Are Certified Hemp Seeds?
Certified hemp seeds are seeds that have completed a national or state trial program to prove stability through the full term of the growing season.
Government agencies typically oversee this multi-year trial where seeds progress through three stages as they prove increasingly stable traits.
These three stages include:
- A “Breeder” Hemp Seed: is a seed directly controlled by the originating or sponsoring plant breeder of the breeding program or institution and whose production is personally supervised by a qualified plant breeder.
- A “Foundational” Hemp Seed: is a breeder seed stock grown by or under the supervision of a public agency for use in the production of registered and certified seed.
- A “Certified” Hemp Seed: is a seed that has been certified by a Seed Certification Agency
For hemp seeds to progress to the “certified” stage, the level of total THC can not rise above .3% on a dry-weight basis.
Seed certification is the means of maintaining the pedigree of each specific variety of seed. Experienced seed growers purchase certified seed to assure their customers that they are provided with the correctly identified, genetically pure seed.
States accomplish this by growing the selected seeds in a variety of diverse locations throughout their state. For example, in Colorado, that means growing samples on the Eastern Plains, the Front Range, in the high country, and on the Western Slope, an area already popular in the agricultural community.
At this point in the infant hemp industry there are only a few certified hemp seed varieties in the U.S. Certified hemp seeds can be found in several European countries but they are almost always grown for grain and fiber and not for their cannabinoid content.
What are Verified Seeds?
In contrast, verified seeds have been isolated, tested, and then secured until the sale to assure the buyer they are receiving the exact same lot of seeds shown in the testing documents they were provided. Digitally secure and generated certificates of verification are already becoming the gold standard for hemp seed verification.
Rhizo Verified is one of the only services currently available to farmers large and small who are looking for full traceability and transparency during the hemp seed buying process
In conclusion, since there are a limited number of certified hemp varieties it is important to purchase verified seeds to assure that the seeds you receive will perform as described by the seller and to assure that you are receiving seeds that match the test results you have been provided.