On Wednesday, November 8th, HB5227, known as the Seed Potato Act was introduced to the Michigan Legislature by State Representative Roger Victory (R) of Hudsonville. The bill as introduced will require all persons planting combined seed lots in excess of one acre to plant only Certified seed. Growers planting foundation seed to be replanted will be allowed to continue this practice, provided the seed is no more than one generation from Certified. If certified seed of a particular variety is not available, an annual exemption can be given to plant uncertified seed for that growing season.
An advisory committee will be created to advise the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) in development of rules assisting in determining the availability of Certified seed potatoes and recommend whether to grant permission to plant uncertified seed potatoes. The committee will also consult the director with the administration and enforcement of the law.
“This has been a key objective for us to ensure the long-term protection of a viable potato industry in the state of Michigan.” Said Dennis Iott, President of the Potato Growers of Michigan, Inc. (PGMI) “We hope we’ve created an easy process that will allow all growers to continue to have successful crops while protecting our great reputation as state with high quality potatoes, all while minimizing the threat of significant diseases to the industry.”
Under the current bill the Certified seed law would become effective for potato crops planted in Michigan after January 1, 2021.