Vermont Passes Two New Bills Impacting Seed Industry

  • On June 2, 2021

On May 21, Vermont passed legislation containing language to amend the Seed Review Committee’s authority over new genetically engineered seed. Previously, the Committee, created in 2019, required that a board must review and approve new genetically engineered seed traits in Vermont prior to sale in the state. The newly-passed legislation (H.434) transfers the panel’s powers and duties into a newly created, broader Agricultural Innovation Board, which is now only advisory.

Additionally, on May 20, the Governor of Vermont signed a bill that increases regulation of biostimulants. Under the newly signed legislation (H. 102), the term “plant amendment” is expanded to mean any substance applied to plants or seeds that is intended to improve growth, yield, product quality, reproduction, flavor or other favorable characteristics of plants, except for fertilizer, soil amendments, agricultural liming materials, animal and vegetable manures, pesticides, plant regulators, and other materials. The bill further defines “plant biostimulant” as a substance or microorganism that, when applied to seeds, plants, or the rhizosphere, stimulates natural processes to enhance or benefit nutrient uptake, nutrient efficiency, tolerance to abiotic stress, or crop quality and yield except for fertilizers, soil amendments, plant amendments, or pesticides. These products will now fall under the state’s fertilizer law with specific labeling requirements, including seed-applied technology.