New York Seed Improvement Project
The New York Seed Improvement Project (NYSIP) operates within Cornell's Plant Breeding extension program consisting of two divisions:
- Foundation Division: The goal of this division is to develop foundation seed stocks from breeder seed, as the base for further seed production. Plant breeders normally produce small amounts of seed of new varieties, usually ounces or pounds. This seed is designated as "breeder seed". Personnel in the Foundation Division of NYSIP take breeder seed and increase this to the larger quantities (bushels or tons) needed as planting stocks for Certified seed growers.
- Certification Division: Certified seed is recognized in national and state legislation as seed meeting high standards for genetic purity and quality. In New York seed certification responsibilities are delegated to Cornell by the Commissioner of the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets. At Cornell, these responsibilities are assigned to the Department of Plant Breeding and Biometry, and to the NY Seed Improvement Project (NYSIP) within that department. Trained inspectors from this project inspect seed fields to make sure these meet the high standards required for Certified seed. Harvested seed lots must pass high quality standards. Certified seed (labeled with its distinctive blue tag) provides a standard for seed quality for NY farmers.