exporting seeds from usa

Exporting seeds from usa

Importing Seeds into the US

Small Lots of Seed Program

For some years, it has been necessary to send a Phytosanitary Certificate with all seeds imported into the USA. This regulation was put in place because of fears that species of plants not native to the United States might spread and displace native species.

This has meant that it has been almost impossible for people in the United States to obtain seeds from other countries legally, which has been a serious difficulty for small seedhouses and specialist nurseries, as well as an inconvenience for ordinary gardeners who wished to exchange seeds with gardeners in other countries.

APHIS (the US Department responsible for Plant Health) have now relaxed these rules for the importation of small quantities of seed. It is no longer necessary to have such seed inspected and to obtain a Phytosanitary Certificate from the exporting country. Instead, the person in the US who wishes to import seeds on a small scale may now apply for an Import Permit which will allow them to bring seeds into the United States, subject to certain conditions. Details of how to obtain a Permit are on the APHIS website: .

The Permit is free, and is valid for three years. During that time, a resident in the US may import any number of lots of up to 50 packets of seed (each packet containing not more than 50 seeds), provided they are packed and labelled in accordance with the rules. Obviously, seeds of species which are normally prohibited are not allowed into the US under the new Small Lots of Seed Program. Seeds must be completely cleaned of soil, chaff, husks, etc., and complete fruits and berries are not allowed in under the new rules. More details are on the APHIS website.

The new procedure will therefore be as follows:

  • (a) The importer (in the US) will obtain a Small Lots of Seed Permit;
  • (b) The importer will send a copy of the Permit, plus a special label addressed to an Inspection Station in the US, plus a self-addressed label, to the exporter (outside the US), whether it is a company, a society or an individual;
  • (c) The exporter (outside the US) will send the seeds, packed and labelled as required, to the Inspection Station, using the label supplied, together with the copy of the Permit, a list of the seeds enclosed, and the label addressed to the importer (in the US);
  • (d) The seeds will be checked at the Inspection Station and forwarded to the intended recipient.

Many international gardening societies are already aware of the procedure they need to follow to get seeds from their Distributions to their members in the US (the new system was worked out in conjunction with NARGS). As the Small Lots of Seed Program has only just been put into effect, it is likely that people in the US who wish to import seeds by buying from a foreign seedhouse or by exchanging seed with someone in another country will need to provide details of the new scheme to the exporter.

The following seem the questions most likely to arise about the new Small Lots of Seed Program. Click on a question to go to the answer, or click here to go to the FAQ page.

Remember that the new Program only applies to the import of small quantities of eligible seed. If you want to import large quantities of seed, or types which are subject to special requirements, you will still need to get a Phytosanitary Certificate. All the rules about importing seed and other parts of plants into the US are on the APHIS website .

There is a checklist of the requirements for packing, labelling and sending seed which it might be useful for the importer (in the US) to send to the exporter (outside the US) here, and a suitable form to list seeds being sent into the US here.

Exporting seeds from usa Importing Seeds into the US Small Lots of Seed Program For some years, it has been necessary to send a Phytosanitary Certificate with all seeds imported into the

Going to Seed with Dan Brisebois

Solid Farm Planning, Business Management, Spreadsheets & Seeds!

How To Export Seeds To The USA

Are you a Canadian seed grower who is thinking about getting a seed contract from a US seed company? Are you a US seed company looking to tap into the fantastic network of Canadian seed growers?

But you’re wondering how to navigate the US / Canada border?

Don’t worry, it is usually easier than you think!

Let’s go over the basic steps to get a phytosanitary certificate from CFIA (the Canadian Food Inspection Agency).

Please note the information in this post refers to Canadian seed being sent to the United States. The same information does NOT apply to US seed being imported into Canada. This information does NOT apply to shipping seed from other countries to the US, either.

It should also be noted that this article is for information purposes only. Please contact your local CFIA office to confirm this information. Certain crops might have different requirements, and requirements change over time!

6 Steps To Export Your Seeds To The USA

1. Verify Requirements For Specific Crops

The steps I describe in this post refer to when all you need is a phytosanitary certificate to export seeds to the US.

If you are exporting vegetable or flower seeds and the size of your seed lots are less than the amounts listed in these tables, and your seed is clean of soil and debris, a phyto should be all you need.

Nonetheless, you should confirm this information with your local CFIA office before shipping seeds to the US or planning to grow a seed crop that is only destined to be exported.

Call or e-mail you local CFIA office, with the species name and weight of each seed lot you want to export. They will confirm whether a phyto is all you need and help you navigate any additional requirement.

It is a good idea to verify requirements on an annual basis to make requirements haven’t changed since the last time you exported seeds. Here is a full list of current requirements of importing seeds into the US.

2. Agree With Client On Associated Costs

Once you have an idea of the requirements and the associated fees make sure to contact your client and explain these costs.

It is important for the seed buyer to agree to the associated costs before you start the application process. This is even more important If you are growing a seed lot that is only destined to this buyer!

We usually charge a $25 to $45 fee to get a phyto. We determine the amount base on how many lots we need to prepare and if there any extra hoops we need to jump through.

3. Apply For Phytosanitary Certificate

Each shipment to the US will need one phyto for the whole lot. If you are shipping the same lot in multiple orders to the US, you will need a separate phyto for each order with the lot listed on each phyto.

Here’s how you apply

  • Download form CFIA 3369 from the CFIA forms catalogue
  • Fill out form CFIA 3369
  • Schedule appointment at least 2 business days from the day you submit the form
  • E-mail form CFIA 3369 to your local CFIA inspection office

Generally you won’t receive a confirmation that the form has been received unless there is a problem. Sometimes the morning of the inspection, the inspector might call to confirm the time and location of the inspection. Sometimes they just show up.

4. Get Ready For Inspection

  • Pack each lot in a transparent bag
  • Verify one last time that the seed is indeed clean!
  • Label each bag with variety name, species name, lot #, and weight.
  • Place all lots for one order in the box in which it will be shipped.

5. Have Seed Inspected By Inspector

If you’ve done everything right up to now, the inspection is the easy part!

The CFIA inspector will come into our office and look at the lots. If the seed lots are clean and have no dirt or debris; and the seed does not look adulterated by disease or treatment, it should pass the visual inspection.

Once you’ve paid the fess, the inspector will give you a phyto certificate for the order.

6. Prepare To Ship Seeds

  • Keep a copy of the phyto for your own records.
  • Attach a copy of the phyto & a copy of the invoice to the outside of package.
  • Pack original phyto & a copy of the invoice in package.
  • Indicate on custom form that the package contains seeds and their value, also indicate that a phytosanitary certificate is included in the package.
  • Ship that order!

Now you are ready to go out and export seeds to the US!

If you have want to share any experience you’ve had exporting seeds in to the US or other countries, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me directly or leave a comment on this post.

Are you a Canadian seed grower who is thinking about getting a seed contract from a US seed company? Are you a US seed company looking to tap into the fantastic network of Canadian seed growers? But you're wondering how to navigate the US / Canada border? Don't worry, it is usually easier than you…