One of the missions of the Department of Plant Industry is to provide non-biased, third party quality assurance programs for the fertilizer, seed and turf industries. These programs can be mandatory or voluntary. Each program is described below.
Fertilizer Inspection Program
Establishments involved in the production, distribution, and sale of fertilizer and lime materials are subject to mandatory regulation, and are routinely inspected by sampling the products to ensure that label guarantees are met. Samples are taken at random and/or upon request from dealers and farmers/consumers, and collected from bulk storage bins, killibrews, spreader trucks, liquid tanks, rail cars, or pre-packaged products.
Inspections include weighing of bagged goods to ensure correct labeling. Products sold in bulk must also meet labeling requirements. Lime samples are analyzed to verify their acid neutralizing capacity including particle size and uniformity.
Penalties are levied against anyone detected selling deficient materials. Penalties collected are paid to the consumer whenever possible.
Seed Certification Services
The South Carolina Seed Certification Program involves voluntary adherence to a set of standards imposed on the production of seed which ensures purity and germination. The standards which must be met by all Certified Seed producers include rigid requirements on planting stock, land history, equipment clean-out, weed management, conditioning, sampling, and labeling.
All fields producing a class of certified seed must pass a field inspection to detect off-types, other crops, noxious or inseparable weeds, and seed borne diseases. Seed conditioning facilities must also be inspected to ensure proper handling to maintain purity of each seed lot. All seed lots are sampled and must meet rigid standards for purity and germination based on laboratory analyses conducted by the SC Department of Agriculture Seed Lab.
All classes of certified seed must carry an official label bearing the variety name and other relevant information. This is the farmer's assurance that the seed is of the quality he expects.
Turf Certification Services
The Turfgrass Certification program involves voluntary adherence to a set of standards that were designed to promote turfgrass quality. The standards which must be met by all Certified Turf producers include rigid requirements on planting stock, land history, equipment clean-out, weed management, sampling, and labeling.
The Department of Plant Industry field inspectors conduct three inspections per year on each field producing a class of certified turf to detect off-types, other crops, and noxious and inseparable weeds. Turfgrass fields are sampled at random and grown out to ensure the identity of the grass is being maintained.
All classed of certified turf must carry an Official Certificate bearing the variety name and other relevant information. This is the buyer's assurance that the turfgrass is of the quality he expects from certified turf.