Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor | Richard A. Ball, Commissioner
Jola Szubielski, Lisa Koumjian 518-457-0752

November 07, 2016

State Agriculture Commissioner Announces the New York State Seed Testing Facility to Be Housed at the New York Food Lab

Relocation of Seed Testing to Albany Will Bring State’s Diverse Agricultural Testing Capabilities to One Facility

State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball today announced that, in partnership with Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), the State’s Seed Testing Laboratory will now be run by the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and housed within its state-of-the-art New York State Food Laboratory in Albany.  Currently operated by and located at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), the college’s Geneva, NY campus, the Seed Lab provides assurances to the agricultural community that seed used in production is healthy and robust. 

Commissioner Ball said, “Our Food Lab is a cutting-edge facility that houses some of the world’s best and brightest scientists.  Staff provide extensive and essential consumer protection services by testing foods and other products for purity, wholesomeness and accurate labeling.  By partnering with Cornell University to bring the Seed Lab to Albany and house it within our Food Lab, we’re able to offer additional efficiency in testing services to the agricultural industry.”

Susan Brown, the Goichman Family Director of the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station, said, “For more than 130 years, the Seed Lab in Geneva has provided the highest quality routine seed quality tests—such as those for germination, moisture, purity, and vigor—along with more specialized tests to the state’s farmers and producers. Many of our academic departments have worked closely with the lab and it is a legacy we look forward to continuing in Albany.”

Established in 1882, the Seed Lab provides high quality seed results and reporting to residents, growers and seed companies.  Since 1912, the lab has been operating as the regulatory laboratory for New York State, testing inspection samples to verify accuracy of product content and labeling for the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets.  The lab performs critical functions for the agricultural industry, testing 800 samples annually to insure that seed purchased by New York State farmers and consumers is true to label claim, meets minimum germination standards and is free of noxious weed seeds.

The Department and Cornell University are working together to successfully transfer the Seed Lab. The Seed Lab will continue to process samples in Geneva until the transfer of equipment to the Food Lab is complete, which is expected by the end of the year.  Growers and businesses will be notified by mail, prior to the opening of the new space, of the exact timeline and Albany mailing address to send samples. They can also find updates on the Seed Lab’s website at The lab, at its new Albany location, will continue to offer its services and expertise on a fee basis, which will remain unchanged, to a wide range of clientele.

In addition, the Department has hired Kyle Arvin as its Seed Lab director, who will manage client services and regulatory testing.  Enforcement will continue as a separate function within the Department.  Kyle has 25 years of experience in seed-related testing, working both in the private and public sector, including as the Director of the New York State Seed Testing Laboratory, based at Cornell University.  During his time at the NYS Seed Testing Lab in Geneva, he oversaw the facility’s seed testing services and coordinated with graduate students and faculty in their research on seeds.  Kyle also worked cooperatively with the states of New York, New Hampshire and Vermont to provide testing lab services for their state seed regulatory programs.  He worked frequently with the New York Seed Improvement Program, which operates within Cornell's Plant Breeding extension program and consists of a certified seed division. 

Most recently Kyle was a Registered Seed Technologist with Dow AgroSciences, North American Seed Quality Control Laboratory, in West Lafayette, Indiana, where he trained new analysts how to perform seed testing and worked on a global seed quality testing team.  Kyle’s work in Indiana helped the laboratory become an USDA Accredited Seed Laboratory. 

NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets Seed Lab Director Kyle Arvin said, “I’m pleased to join the NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets and continue the great work of the Seed Lab in this state-of-the-art facility.  By incorporating the seed lab into space at the Food Lab, we’ll be able to streamline the intake, reporting and communications process for both industry and regulatory tests.”

Dean Norton, New York Farm Bureau President, said, “It is critical that New York growers have confidence in the effectiveness of their seed in order to grow a high quality product for consumers in New York State and around the world. Farmers greatly depend upon the Seed Testing Laboratory, now located in the Food Laboratory operated by the Department of Agriculture and Markets, and look forward to continuing their vital partnership.”

Jeremy Schulz, NYS Agribusiness Association President, said, “The relocation to the new lab facility in Albany will help the seed lab further fulfill its mission. The NYS Department of Agriculture and Markets takes an active interest in protecting consumers, farmers and growers through regulatory testing of seed in New York. We look forward to seeing state investment that will improve the overall seed quality assurance process.”

About Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is an Ivy League research institution informed by the values of the land-grant mission. Home to 15 academic departments and two schools—the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management and the School of Integrative Plant Science—CALS offers 22 majors and 31 minors in the agricultural, biological, physical, and social sciences. The College of Agriculture and Life and Sciences is one of the premier colleges of its kind in the world and is guided by the principle of creating and disseminating “Knowledge with Public Purpose.”

About the Department of Agriculture and Markets
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets’ mission is to foster a competitive food and agriculture industry that benefits producers and consumers alike. The Department, through its various divisions and programs, works to promote the agricultural industry and its world-class products, foster agricultural environmental stewardship and safeguard the State’s food supply to ensure the growth of the industry.

The Department operates the Great New York State Fair and administers the Taste NY initiative, the FreshConnect and the new New York State Grown & Certified programs.   Follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2016 Press Releases