On Monday March 26, HB5227 – The Seed Potato Act, was signed by Governor Snyder as Public Act 94 of 2018. The bill will require that all potato seed sold or planted in Michigan, in combined lots greater than one acre, must be Certified Seed beginning January 1, 2021. The final version of the law as signed can be found here.
“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.”
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.
“The industry will now be engaged in working with MDARD on the process of appointing advisory committee members. These individuals will play a key role in ensuring that the law works for the industry.” stated Mike Wenkel, manager of PGMI.
The advisory committee will include:
- Two commercial potato growers who do not grow seed potatoes
- The current chair of the Michigan Seed Potato Association
- One person employed by Michigan State University – must have knowledge of or experience with seed potatoes
- One person employed by MDARD – must have knowledge of or experience with seed potatoes
Any commercial grower interested in serving on the advisory committee can contact Mike at email@example.com