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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

“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 or call (701) 231-8067 or (701) 231-8168.

For more NDSU Extension news, go to

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Vice President for University Relations
North Dakota State University
Phone: +1 (701) 231-1068 - Fax: (701) 231-1989
Campus address: Old Main 204
Mailing address: Dept 6000 PO Box 6050, Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Page manager: NDSU University Relations

Last Updated: Sunday, August 25, 2013
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