NDSU helps producers through Dakota Select Seed

Dakota Select Seed is a grower group organized by the North Dakota Crop
Improvement and Seed Association (NDCISA) in 2007. The objective of this group
is to produce, market and promote seed of certain crop varieties that typically
struggle to maintain viability in the certified seed industry.

Public breeding programs, such as the North Dakota State University oat and two-
rowed barley programs, focus on crops that are planted on small acreages
relative to some of the major crops in the region. Although the sheer number of
acres planted to these crops may be limited, the benefit that producers of these
limited-use crops receive from having a public breeding program working for them
is great.

“Through the years, public funding for breeding programs has decreased, leaving
many programs, especially those focusing on small-acreage crops, with a
difficult time obtaining operating funds,” says Dale Williams, North Dakota
Foundation Seedstocks director.  Foundation Seedstocks is in the NDSU Department
of Plant Sciences.

“An idea was brought forward within the NDCISA to address the concern of
supporting NDSU breeding programs to ensure continued benefit to the sector of
the agriculture community that they serve,” he adds. “The idea focused on
capturing value from varieties that have been historically unprotected or have
not been able to develop adequate end-use markets through traditional production
and distribution channels, thus providing no revenue to invest back into variety
development programs.”

The NDCISA has a history of working with NDSU varieties, and a framework existed
to work with these limited-use crops with a slight variation to traditional
production and distribution channels.

A model was developed that illustrates how a dedicated grower network could help
develop an end-use and seed market for small acreage crops and subsequently
capture a revenue stream in the form of research fees that could be reinvested
in the NDSU public breeding programs for the development of new higher-yielding,
improved disease resistant varieties with better end-user quality.

The NDCISA presented this model to the NDSU Research Foundation (NDSU/RF) in
2007. The NDSU/RF is the owner of all varieties released by the North Dakota
Agricultural Experiment Station. An agreement was reached between the NDSU/RF
and NDCISA. This agreement resulted in the exclusive licensing of Souris oats
and Rawson barley to the NDCISA.

Today, Dakota Select Seed also works with Rockford oats, which is the latest oat
variety released by NDSU. Bobcat winter triticale from Canada and Overland hard
red winter wheat from Nebraska are also produced and marketed by the Dakota
Select Seed grower network. The new hard red spring wheat with Clearfield
technology, ND901CL Plus, is licensed through the NDSU/RF and managed by Dakota
Select Seed growers. More information on these NDSU varieties can be found at
http://www.ndfss.com.

“The Dakota Select Seed program is open to all producers who are active in
certified seed production and meet the member eligibility requirements,”
Williams says. “To become a member of the Dakota Select Seed grower program, a
producer must have a current seed tax number and a history of timely research
fee reporting and payment, and must have met final certification of at least one
crop in three of the last five years. Growers also must pay a $100 per variety
per year access fee. Some varieties may have different requirements.”

The Dakota Select Seed management team has advisory membership consisting of
representatives from the North Dakota State Seed Department, NDSU/RF, NDSU
Foundation Seed, NDSU Research and Extension Centers and the NDSU county
Extension Service. The Dakota Select Seed management team operates under the
NDCISA bylaws, and all management team meetings are open to the public.

Field inspection and final certification of Dakota Select Seed varieties must be
conducted by the authorized seed certification agency in each state. Contact the
NDCISA for information regarding field and sample tolerances.

For more information on the Dakota Select Seed Program, go to
http://www.ndcropimprovement.org or call (701) 231-8067 or (701) 231-8168.

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