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For small businesses who plan to sell seeds of any kind--whether it’s small seed packets or wholesale grass seed--you need to have a seed license in order to operate legally in any state. Whether you plan to sell and ship only in your state, or to other states, having a seed business license is absolutely mandatory!

Why You Need a Seed License

It’s the objective of every state’s Department of Agriculture to test the seeds that are sold and distributed to ensure they’re disease-free and that the meet the state’s quality requirements. This should bring you peace of mind: you know that any seeds you sell your customers will be top-grade if they’re approved by the state.

Whether you plan to sell seed through wholesale or retail, or whether you plan to work as a landscaper, you need a seed license. Without one, you risk being fined or even having your business shut down. Check with your state business license board, as you may need other types of business licenses, permits & tax documents, such as a nursery-plant dealer license.

The Seed License Application Process

Many states, like Georgia, approve seed licenses for three years. That keeps you from having to scramble each year to renew, but make sure you stay on top of having your license renewed when the time does come, and having another inspection if necessary.

Typically, during the seed license application process, you’ll need to submit a service sample to your state’s Department of Agriculture. This standardized test ensures that your seeds meet certain standards of quality set by your state. Typically, only certain types of seeds will incur a charge to be tested, outside of what you will pay for your actual seed license.

Once your seeds have been approved in the testing process, your application will also be approved. If, at any time, you decide to start selling new types of seed, make sure to get the approval by submitting another service sample for that type of seed to your Department of Agriculture.