Why We Do What We Do

Mr. Chris Schmidt – MCIA President gives us a reminder why MCIA is such a key role in the seed industry.

One of the perks of writing the President’s Post is that I get to write about a variety of topics which are typically associated with agriculture in general and the seed industry in particular. With this issue of the President’s Post, I’ll do a little deeper dive into the Association responsible for the publication you’re reading now.
When the years blend into one another the blur sometimes causes us to lose the historical significance of MCIA’s vital role in the state’s seed industry. It’s good to refresh our memories that MCIA, and only MCIA, is the designated state authority to perform seed certification in the State of Michigan according to standards set forth by state law. What this means, is that MCIA is charged with overseeing production of genetically pure seed stocks. This is no small matter. MCIA is the intersection, the traffic cop, of plant breeders who toil to invent the next best thing and farmers who stand to benefit from the superior varieties breeders continually bring forward either by traditional breeding means or by the use of biotechnology. Regardless of how new varieties come to be, someone needs to marshal their release. Picture an orchestra playing their finest rendition of William Tell Overture to a rapt audience. In between the 2 groups stands the conductor – think MCIA. Without the conductor, the orchestra would play in disarray and the audience will be left to wonder why they paid admission. That’s why after a stunning performance the conductor always takes a bow.
You’ll notice that I’ve mentioned “genetically pure seed stocks” above. When you sift through all the chaff to get down to the really good stuff, purity is really what this Association is all about. All 3 divisions of MCIA, 1) lab, 2) field inspection) 3 foundation seed, are designed to support that goal. One of the ways Michigan has results done a spectacular job of meeting this goal is by administering a three tier limited generation concept whereby genetic purity is maintained. Breeder, Foundation and Certified. That’s it. Michigan doesn’t recognize Registered seed as a viable class like most other states from which Certified seed is produced. By doing this, a whole year in the production process is eliminated reducing the risk of an “awe shucks” to occur. This is really important and MCIA has resisted overtures from other states for years to adopt a more relaxed four tier system.
I firmly believe MCIA has in place, and will continue to maintain, the highest possible standards within the certified seed industry. With these high standards comes value and with value comes rewards. Be safe out there and strive for perfection.