Export Services Program

The Export Services Program assures that Iowa agricultural products can move freely in both international trade as well as among other states and U.S. Territories.  Products eligible for certification are ‘plant products,’ as in raw, unprocessed commodities such as grain, seed, lumber, and live plants. Such products are inspected either when they are in the field or after they have been prepared for export. Once inspected, or lab tested as required by the receiving country, the products can be certified and exported. The certificates issued include State, and Federal Export Certification Documents, often referred to as ‘phytosanitary certificates’. This program is conducted in cooperation with the USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service-Plant Protection and Quarantine Service (USDA-APHIS-PPQ).

The Entomology Bureau may also assist in facilitating movement of field equipment to other states and countries which may require freedom-from certifications concerning soil and plant matter.


Nursery Stock Grower and Dealer Inspection Program

The Nursery Stock Grower and Dealer Inspection Program assures that the nursery stock sold in Iowa is free of injurious insects and diseases of regulatory concern, which might adversely effect the growth of the stock or which might be further infest the state. Inspectors of the Entomology and Plant Sciences Bureau annually inspect all nursery stock grower operations, and only stock meeting the inspection criteria are certified for sale. While at nursery stock grower operations the personnel advise growers concerning the prevention of regulatory and non-regulatory insects and diseases. This latter function is a service to the nursery industry of Iowa. Once stock passes the inspection, the nursery stock can be sold in Iowa as well as other states with parallel regulations.

Regional Entomologists and Plant Pathologists also inspect stock at nursery stock dealer operations to verify the healthy condition of stock coming from other states, and ensure that the stock is not infested with harmful pests such as gypsy moth and other exotic insects and disease.  The inspections also assure that proper conditions for holding stock are maintained. Nursery dealers are also certified for operation in Iowa by the Entomology and Plant Science Bureau.

Application for Iowa Nursery Grower Certificate / Request for Inspection

Application for Iowa Nursery Dealer Certificate


Seed Regulatory Program

Agricultural & Vegetable Seed

The Seed Regulatory Program assures that all agricultural and vegetable seed sold in Iowa meets the criteria established in the Iowa statutes and rules. The Entomology & Plant Science Bureau coordinates the inspection by IDALS Agricultural Inspectors of seed labels at seed companies across Iowa. The companies must show that required tests have been conducted and that the correct information is recorded on the label. In certain cases, samples are taken for analysis at the Iowa State University Seed Laboratory. Each company labeling agricultural seed for sale must have a permit.

Application for an Agricultural or Vegetable Seed Permit

Seed Libraries

A qualified seed library may be a library district formed under Iowa Code section 336.2, a library board functioning under Iowa Code section 392.5, or an Iowa food bank or Iowa emergency feeding organization recognized by the Iowa Department of Revenue. A qualified seed library is subject to permitting by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, but is not subject to labeling, testing and fees for giving, distributing or exchanging agricultural seed as long as all of the following apply:

  1. The exchanges or distributions are made at a single location and no money is exchanged;
  2. All seed is intended for planting in Iowa;
  3. Individuals receive two pounds or less of seed annually;
  4. The seed has not been treated with pesticide;
  5. Patented, protected or propriety varieties of seed are used or included in the qualified seed library only with the permission of the patent or certificate holder, developer or owner of the intellectual property associated with the variety;
  6. The certified seed status is not misused or misrepresented; and
  7. The seed has not been placed under a stop sale order by the department or any other regulatory agency.

All Seed Library Permits are free, but do require annual renewals, also free.

Application for Seed Library Permit

How to Dispose of Unsolicited, Unlabeled Seed

Thank you for reporting this unsolicited seed delivery to the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship. We appreciate your help protecting American agriculture and our natural resources from invasive plants and exotic plant pests, including pathogens and insects.

How to dispose of unplanted seeds and packaging

  1. Please place the unsolicited, unlabeled seed and original packaging in a zip lock bag and squeeze the air out.
  2. Put the zip lock bag inside the self-addressed return envelope and drop it in the USPS mail.

If the seeds and packaging do not fit in the self-addressed return envelope provided, please call the Iowa Department of Agriculture at 515-281-5321 and we will make other arrangements to collect it.

The Iowa Department of Agriculture will send the seed and packaging to USDA for further analysis and proper disposal.

How to dispose of planted seeds

  1. If any seeds were planted, please dig up the seeds, plants and surrounding 3 inches of soil.
  2. Place the seed, plant and soil in a plastic garbage bag, squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it.
  3. Place the first bag inside a second plastic bag, squeeze the air out of the bag and seal it.
  4. Throw the double-bagged plant material and soil in the garbage. Do not compost it.
  5. Do not plant any new materials in the area for 12 months.

If you have questions, please call the Iowa Department of Agriculture at 515-281-5321.


State Weed Commissioner

The State Weed Commissioner, as established by Iowa Statute, chapter 317, and administrative rules, chapter 58, resides in the Entomology and Plant Science Bureau.  The state weed commissioner assists county weed commissioners with legal questions and technical support.   Additionally, there are numerous exotic weeds at risk for introduction into Iowa, that would adversely impact Iowa’s agricultural and rural areas. When opportunities arise, the state weed commissioner works with USDA on bio-control programs.

County Weed Commissioner Minimum Standards

Summary of changes made to Iowa Weed Law during the 2018 Legislative session


Plant and Plant Pest Interstate Movement Permit Program

This program, in conjunction with USDA, evaluates and issues permits for individuals to move insects, plant pathogens, foreign plants, and soil into Iowa, often for research purposes. Injurious pests can not be moved, unless they are contained in special confinement settings. Other pests of a less serious nature are allowed entry for experimental purposes and for other purposes (e.g., for butterfly releases at weddings). Certain plants (for example roses, which might harbor rose viruses) are allowed entry into the US by USDA from foreign countries.

For more information on importing plant pests, or moving plant pests interstate with the US, https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/import-information