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Saving select Dakota seed

Mike Gartner, from Gartner Seed Farm, Mandan, N.D., is the current chairman of Dakota Select Seeds, a grower group organized by the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association, or NDCISA. Its objective 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 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 NDSU Research Foundation is the owner of all varieties released by the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station. An agreement reached between the NDSU/RF and NDCISA resulted in the exclusive licensing of Souris oats and Rawson barley to the NDCISA.

Today, Dakota Select Seed also works with Newburg oats, the latest oat variety released by NDSU, and Rockford oats, also a NDSU release. 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

“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, 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.

Field inspection and final certification of Dakota Select Seed varieties must be conducted by the authorized seed certification agency in each state.

For more information on the Dakota Select Seed Program, call 701-231-8168, or visit

Source: NDSU Extension Communications


Seed support: Mike Gartner chairs a group that is exclusively licensed to grow and sell seed for small-acreage field crops developed by NDSU.

This article published in the November, 2011 edition of DAKOTA FARMER.

All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.