Agriculture and Forestry

Rhode Island Seed Act


§ 2-6-7. Duties and authority of the director of the department of environmental management.

(a) The duty of enforcing this chapter and carrying out its provisions and requirements is vested in the director of the department of environmental management. It is the duty of that officer, who may act through his or her authorized agents:

(1) To sample, inspect, make analysis of, and test agricultural and vegetable seeds transported, sold, or offered or exposed for sale within the state for sowing purposes, at any time and place and to any extent as he or she may deem necessary to determine whether those agricultural or vegetable seeds are in compliance with the provisions of this chapter; and to notify promptly the person who transported, sold, offered, or exposed the seed for sale, of any violation;

(2) To prescribe and, after a public hearing following public notice, to adopt rules and regulations governing the method of sampling, inspecting, analyzing, testing, and examining agricultural and vegetable seed and the tolerances to be followed in the administration of this chapter, which shall be in general accord with officially prescribed practice in interstate commerce and any other rules and regulations that may be necessary to secure efficient enforcement of this chapter;

(3) To prescribe and, after a public hearing following public notice, establish, add to, or subtract from by regulations a prohibited and restricted noxious weed list; and

(4) To prescribe and, after a public hearing following public notice, to adopt rules and regulations establishing reasonable standards of germination for vegetable seeds.

(b) For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this chapter, the director, individually or through his or her authorized agents, is authorized:

(1) To enter upon any public or private premises during regular business hours in order to have access to seeds and the records connected with the premises subject to this chapter and rules and regulations under this chapter, and any truck or other conveyor by land, water, or air at any time when the conveyor is accessible, for the same purpose;

(2) To issue and enforce a written or printed "stop sale" order to the owner or custodian of any lot of agricultural or vegetable seed that the director finds is in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter or rules and regulations promulgated under this chapter. That order shall prohibit further sale, processing, and movement of the seed, except on approval of the director, until the director has evidence that the law has been complied with and the director has issued a release from the "stop sale" order of the seed; provided, that in respect to seed that has been denied sale, processing, and movement as provided in this paragraph, the owner or custodian of the seed has the right to appeal from the order to a court of competent jurisdiction in the locality in which the seeds are found, praying for a judgment as to the justification of the order and for the discharge of the seeds from the order prohibiting the sale, processing, and movement in accordance with the findings of the court. The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed as limiting the right of the director to proceed as authorized by other sections of this chapter;

(3) To establish and maintain or make provisions for seed-testing facilities; to employ qualified persons; and to incur any expenses that may be necessary to comply with these provisions;

(4) To make or provide for making purity and germination tests of seed for farmers and dealers on request; to prescribe rules and regulations governing that testing; and to fix and collect charges for the tests made. Fees shall be accounted for in any manner that the state legislature may prescribe; and

(5) To cooperate with the United States Department of Agriculture and other agencies in seed law enforcement.

(c) Jurisdiction in all matters pertaining to the cultivation, harvesting, production, processing, certification, labeling, inspection, analyzing, testing, sampling, classification, designation, advertising, marketing, sale, storage, transportation, distribution, possession, notification of use, planting, and other use of agricultural and vegetable seeds is, by this chapter, vested exclusively in the director, to the exclusion of all local ordinances or regulations.

(1) All acts or parts of acts, whether general, special, or local, inconsistent with this section are expressly repealed, declared to be invalid, and of no effect.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1978, ch. 371, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 512, art. 2, § 37; P.L. 2018, ch. 167, § 1; P.L. 2018, ch. 242, § 1; P.L. 2019, ch. 308, art. 2, § 1.)