State of Organic Seed

State of Organic Seed is an ongoing project to monitor the status of organic seed systems in the U.S. Our 2011 findings provide the first comprehensive analysis of the barriers and opportunities in building organic seed systems. This report will be updated every few years.


The USDA’s National Organic Program requires the use of organic seed when commercially available. However, the organic seed sector was almost nonexistent when the organic program began, and has not caught up to meet the demand. Data shows that farmers report increased attempts to source organic seed and more pressure from certifiers to do so. Public research in organic plant breeding has increased slightly, with investments from both the public and private sector. Still, lack of organic seed remains a barrier to the growth and success of organic farming. Further investments and collaboration will result in improved availability, quality, and integrity of organic seed.



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“Organic seed is the foundation of organic agriculture and sustainable food systems, and the only true response to GMOs. I support OSA because it provides the technical expertise and organizational structure to establish regionally appropriate organic seed systems.”


Tony Kleese

The Earthwise Company

Chapel Hill, North Carolina