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Increasing seed test costs

Increasing seed test costs

The Office of the Indiana State Chemist loses money with current pricing, it says

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

A piece of Indiana legislation would increase seed testing costs for farmers who have their seed tested by the Office of the Indiana State Chemist (OISC).

Senate Bill 129 “requires the state seed commissioner to charge fees for testing seed and purity and germination that are commensurate with fees that are standard in the seed testing industry.”

If passed, the minimum fee for seed sample tests would increase from $6.00 to $25.

Having such low prices means the OISC loses money conducting these tests.

“We are too cheap,” John Baugh, director of ag services regulations at Purdue University, where the OISC is stationed, told Indiana Public Radio. “We’re losing money every time we do one of the tests and so it’s time for us to be able to change it.”

For context, the Indiana Crop Improvement Association, charged $13.50 for most germination tests in 2021.

Both the Senate bill and the corresponding House bill, HB 1147, have passed committee.

Getting these bills signed into law quickly is key, otherwise the OISC will remain playing catch up.

“The issue with the rule making process is 18 months. By the time we do it, we have to turn around and do it again," Baugh said to Indiana Public Radio.

The legislation has received support from industry groups.

This includes the Indiana Crop Improvement Association and the Indiana Farm Bureau.

Allowing the OISC to increases its testing fees helps ensure it isn’t operating in a disadvantageous position, said Jeff Cummins, associate director of policy engagement for Indiana Farm Bureau.

“We supported the bill because SB 129 allows the Office of Indiana State Chemist to increase fees commensurate with what the private sector charges,” he told in an emailed statement. “They’re not the only option for seed purity and germination testing and are not required to test seed, but when they do, they suffer a loss under their current fee structure. In order for them to continue the optional service to the industry, we supported allowing an increase to match private sector practices.”

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