Seed Certifying Agencies Assist After Wildfires

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Wildfires across several western states have scorched more than 1 million acres of public and privately owned land. In some areas, fires still burn ,and it may be several weeks before the full extent of the damage is known. Landowners and managers looking to reseed large tracts of land might find it challenging to source adequate amounts of suitable seed. In addition to identifying sources of seed, they will need to be mindful of quality, the appropriate types and varieties for reseeding, and make sure that seed is free of weeds that could cause long-term problems.

Since 1919, the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) has worked with seed certifying agencies across the United States to ensure that seed customers received pure, high quality seed.

“Seed certifying agencies can be a valuable resource for landowners and managers,” according to Chet Boruff, AOSCA CEO. “They understand the challenges unique to each of their states.”

In addition to traditional field crops, seed certifying agencies in several states apply AOSCA standards to native species that are in high demand for their use in revegetating fragile lands ravaged by wildfires.

Once the range and forest fires are controlled, the immediate concern is to hold the soil in place with species that grow rapidly. They need to be chosen with an eye for both soil protection and minimal competition with more permanent native perennials. The Certified seed industry specializes in native and conservation species, and it offers a tool box of seed choices to meet local needs. Certified seed ensures varietal purity and that the seed is suitable for unique geographic areas, soil types and climates.

Idaho contains several thousand acres of fire-damaged land and the state’s seed certifying agency is the Idaho Crop Improvement Association. Doug Boze is the executive vice president of Idaho Crop, and he serves as AOSCA’s president.

“Our office is coordinating with other agencies in our region to identify sources of pure seed and we often work with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to help it find the seed needed for reclamation projects,” says Boze. “Our goal across the western region is to make sure that seed purchasers of any type know they can contact seed certifying agencies for guidance.”

The AOSCA website contains a full list of seed certifying agencies and their contact information. In addition, AOSCA encourages anyone with further questions to contact 309-736-0120.

“Recovering from this season’s widespread fires will not be easy, but using high quality, pure seed that is well-adapted to each location will give land owners and managers the best opportunity for successfully restoring their land,” Boruff says.

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