Illegally Bagged Seed: More Pain than Gain

‘Brown baggers’ more pain than gain

Buying cheaper seed isn’t worth the aggravation that follows — especially if it’s illegal. That’s why state ag secretaries and commissioners warn against buying and selling “brown bag” seed almost every spring.

If it’s not tested for purity and germination and doesn’t carry your state’s label, it’s illegal. If it’s distributed by a seedsman not certified by your state, these “brown baggers” are just as illegal. That name and address must be on the seed tag. If not, you may get far more than what you don’t pay for.

Pay close attention to that seed tag so you don’t inadvertently violate patent and federal Plant Variety Protection Act laws. Today’s seeds are patented intellectual property and fiercely protected.

There’s another reason. A few seed marketers have been playing fast and loose with the burgeoning demand for conservation pollination mixes and cover crop seed. It’s a prime market for hucksters. Cover crops are supposed to help control weeds, not bring them onto your farm.

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