This small program is funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. The funding allows one of our senior inspectors to examine seed labels and take seed samples. The processes by which the seed producer ensures that his seed is viable and clean may be observed. Seed producers may be certified by the state if they sell agricultural seed. Much of the seed produced in the United States is marketed internationally and the certification assures the buyer that he is getting a quality product.
Seed crops are often examined in the field if they are going to be exported to certify they are free of specific diseases and to ensure they meet the import requirements of the receiving country. The grower of the seed pays for the inspection in this case.
Some virus diseases are spread by planting infected seed such as celery mosaic disease. Ventura County enforces a host free period, a period where no celery can be grown or planted, outside from July 15th to August 4th or inside of a greenhouse from July 15th to July 22nd. Agricultural inspectors search for planted celery and wild celery in areas where it is commonly found. If celery is found during the host free period it must be plowed under by the grower or if it is growing outside of a cultivated field it is hand pulled or sprayed with herbicides. This program is funded by the celery growers themselves.
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