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The New York Seed Improvement Project (NYSIP) operates within Cornell's Plant Breeding extension program and consists of two divisions:

Foundation Division

The goal of this division is to develop foundation seed stocks from breeder seed as the base for further production. Plant breeders normally produce only small amounts (i.e., ounces or pounds) of new varieties of seed. The Foundation Division of NYSIP develops breeder seed at larger quantities (i.e., bushels or tons) required 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 New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. At Cornell, these responsibilities are assigned to the NY Seed Improvement Project (NYSIP) within the Departments of Plant Breeding and Genetics and Biometry. Trained inspectors from the project inspect seed fields to make sure they 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.