McCann files bill regarding seed libraries

By Gary Scott on April 11, 2016 at 7:17am

Photo provided by Senator McCann's office. McCann joined by proponents of the legislation on the Illinois Senate floor: Pictured from left to right, Andy Heck (Illinois Stewardship Alliance), McCann, Rebecca Osland (Illinois Stewardship Alliance), Jen Dillman (genHkids)

Jacksonville’s state senator is proposing legislation aimed at protecting “seed libraries” in Illinois.

Senate Bill 3130, filed by Sam McCann, would exempt non-profit, cooperative, and governmental seed libraries from regulations developed for large-scale commercial seed companies for seed testing, record-keeping and labeling, according to a press release.

McCann says the aim of the bill is to limit state government from regulating home gardeners and small seed libraries the same way large agribusiness is handled, and says in recent years, the state has started interpreting regulations designed for bigger seed productions as covering smaller libraries.

McCann says that might include testing thousands of seeds for purity and variety, which would greatly exceed the financial and seed resources of the small libraries, which could lead to them being shut down.

McCann says he’s been told that several communities are interested in starting seed libraries, but are worried about future action from the state.

McCann says he plans to add an amendment to ensure adequate protections against noxious weeds and contaminated seeds.

The legislation has passed the Senate Agriculture Committee.