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CA Seed Law: Protecting Farmer's plots and Grandma's salsa garden

CA Seed Laws
Posted at 6:20 PM, Apr 10, 2024

KERN COUNTY, Calif. (KERO) — In 1921, the California Seed Act was enacted starting the state's interest in making sure Ag producers of all sizes get adequate seeds.

  • Since then the California Seed Law has seen various iterations and amendments, but at its core, it's remained a way to keep California Ag producers, big and small, from getting bad seeds.
  • 23ABC spoke with Cerise Montanio, Deputy Director for the Kern County Department of Agriculture, who said the county tests seeds brought into the county and enforces regulations on how the seeds need to be labeled and marketed to consumers before they can be sold to Ag producers
  • According to Montanio, there's little need to worry about getting bad seeds because of the regulations, and in the last year only seed seller was found in violation of the regulations.


The phrase "Know What You Sow," was coined just under 100 years ago regarding the California Seed Law, a law that was put in place to protect Ag producers all the way up to the farmers with 100-acre plots and all the way down to grandma and her salsa garden. Now, a side note to my grandmother: Can I have some more jars of salsa, please?

Back on track, The California Seed Law outlines how seeds get tested, labeled, and marketed to consumers in the state to help produce the food we eat to the grass that I'm standing on.

Cerise Montanio, the Deputy Director for the County Department of Ag, says the days of people trying to pass off magic beans that will grow a stalk that will climb to the clouds are long gone and seed sellers know about the regulations and want to stay in compliance, because the better their seeds are, the better their reputation is.

"Usually nobody is intentionally trying to cheat the consumer, it's usually just an error, the sellers are very compliant, they want to get things back into compliance. They want to have a good name and reputation out there," said Montanio.

Over the century, the California Seed Law has seen various iterations and amendments, but at this stage, it's a consumer protection law protecting ag producers.

"Some of those provisions are to regulate the marketing of the seed to make sure the labeling is correct. The seed is tested for purity and germination. It also protects consumers if they have complaints, which helps with resolution to those kinds of and the state and the county can just support each other and support the consumer so it's it's all about people that are purchasing these seeds and supporting them and making sure that they get what they're paying more," said Montanio.

Per the California Department of Food and Agriculture, there are a handful of seed sellers here in Kern County, but seeds get sold in California from as close as their backyard to the UK and Italy.

According to Montanio, there is very little worry about buying bad seeds here in Kern County. She mentioned that over the last year there's only been one instance where a seller was out of compliance and it was rectified quickly.

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