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AGRICULTURAL COMMODITY PROGRAMS

The Agricultural Commodities Program in the Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for ensuring the integrity of commodities regulated under Virginia’s Animal Remedies, Commercial Feed, Seed, Fertilizer and Agricultural Liming Materials Laws.

To ensure products are truthfully labeled, VDACS inspects establishments that manufacture or distribute regulated products. The inspection involves reviewing product labels for compliance accuracy, as well as collecting and analyzing representative samples of the products. A regulated product having false or misleading labeling or containing a substance that has been identified as harmful to humans, plants, animals or the environment is prohibited from further distribution in Virginia.

See Frequently Asked Questions about the Agricultural Commodity Inspection Program.

Commercial Animal Feed

Under Virginia’s Commercial Animal Feed Law, the Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for ensuring the integrity of commercial animal feed by verifying that feed sold in Virginia is properly labeled.

Samples of animal feed are collected by inspectors and analyzed by the Virginia Department of General Services, Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services. If the laboratory analysis finds the product is misbranded or adulterated because it fails to meet its label guarantees or contains a substance that is harmful to animals or might endanger human food derived from the animals, the product is prohibited from further distribution in Virginia until it is brought into compliance with the law.

A license with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is required to sell human food waste products intended for animal feed prior to being sold.

Animal Remedies

Under Virginia’s Animal Remedies Law, the Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for verifying that all animal remedies sold in Virginia are labeled properly. Animal remedies are over-the-counter medications including wound ointments, wormers, antibiotics and drugs intended for animals. Prescription medications and vaccines handled by veterinarians are not included. A license is not required to manufacture or sell animal remedies, however all animal remedies distributed in Virginia must be registered with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services prior to being sold.

Fertilizer and Agricultural Liming Materials

Under Virginia’s Fertilizer and Agricultural Liming Materials Laws, the Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for ensuring the integrity of fertilizers, soil amendments, horticultural growing media and agricultural liming materials sold in Virginia, by inspection of products for truthful labeling and analysis of samples collected by inspectors. The laws allow for the use of industrial co-products as a fertilizer, soil amendment, soil conditioner, horticultural growing media or agricultural liming material. Guidelines for approval can be found in Services and Forms under the Plant Industry Services drop down menu.

Samples of fertilizer and agricultural liming materials are collected by inspectors and analyzed by the Division of Consolidated Laboratory Services to ensure the product meets label guarantees for plant nutrients or the ability to neutralize soil acid. If the laboratory analysis finds the product is misbranded or adulterated because it fails to meet its label guarantees or contains a substance that is harmful to plants or the environment, the product is prohibited from further distribution in Virginia until it is brought into compliance with the law.

  Fertilizer & Lime Usage and Inspection Report 2015-16

Fertilizer & Lime Usage and Inspection Report 2014-15

 Fertilizer & Lime Usage and Inspection Report 2013-14

Producer Protection

The Virginia Dealers in Agricultural Products Law requires that all buyers of agricultural products from Virginia producers be licensed and bonded, unless they meet certain exemption requirements as provided by the law. The primary purpose of the law is to help assure Virginia producers of prompt accounting and payment for products sold.

Seed

Virginia’s Seed Law regulates all seeds for agricultural crops, lawn grass, vegetables, flowers and trees. The Office of Plant Industry Services is responsible for ensuring the integrity of seeds sold in Virginia. This is accomplished by reviewing product labels to make sure seeds sold in Virginia are labeled properly. Samples of seeds are collected by inspectors and tested in the Office of Plant Industry Services’ Seed Laboratory. Seeds are tested for purity, trueness to variety, noxious weeds and germination. If laboratory tests find the product is misbranded or adulterated because it fails to meet its label guarantees or contains prohibited or restricted noxious weed seeds, the product is prohibited from further distribution in Virginia until it is brought into compliance with the law.

Seed Laboratory

The Seed Laboratory tests seed for the enforcement of the Virginia Seed Law. It also tests Certified Seed for the Virginia Crop Improvement Association (VCIA) to determine if they meet minimum certification standards. In addition, seed analysts conduct service sample testing for farmers, seed dealers, processors and consumers. In carrying out its seed testing responsibilities, the laboratory works closely with VCIA and Foundation Seed Farm for the certification program and the Federal Seed Laboratory in Gastonia, N.C. for the enforcement of the Federal Seed Act.

Seed analysts perform several different tests to evaluate the various elements of seed quality:

  • Purity test: Determines the percentages of pure seed, other crop seeds, weed seed or inert matter
  • Noxious weed seed examination: Determines the rate of occurrence of noxious weed seeds
  • Germination test: Determines germination percentage
  • Tetrazolium chloride, a chemical test: Determines potential viability
  • Trueness to variety: May be determined by visual examination of seed characteristics, a phenol chemical test (for wheat)
  • GMO test: Determines the presence or absence of certain traits.
  • Seed Testing Fee Schedule (pdf)
  • Seed Testing Request Form (pdf)  

Contact
See Frequently Asked Questions about the Agricultural Commodity Inspection Program.

Click here for Office of Plant Industry Services contact information.


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