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Seed Technology Educational Program Trains Individuals Seeking a Seed Technology Career

Photo Library Available to Industry Professionals for Seed Identification

The Seed Technology Educational Program (STEP) was established at Colorado State University in 1998 and is described by the Crop Science Society of America as a "nationally known educational training program.” STEP is also recognized by the Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA) and the Society of Commercial Seed Technologists (SCST).

STEP offers 8 Courses in Seed Technology to train seed analysts to work in State or Commercial Seed Laboratories. A Certificate in Seed Technology is awarded to students who complete the requirements as described on the website.

The courses are invaluable for anyone who wants a career in seed technology or for current analysts working to become a Registered Seed Technologist (RST) or a Certified Seed Analyst (CSA). The STEP Course Program is designed to help fill a well-documented need for new seed analysts within the industry. The courses are offered on line through the Continuing Education Dept. at CSU.

There is a Scholarship Program available for students needing financial assistance. Up to half of the cost of the courses are covered through this program. Anyone interested should contact Karen Allison at 970-491-6295 or email her at

STEP courses are offered through CSU, Virginia Polytechnic and the Indiana Crop Improvement Association. The STEP courses received the "2012 Seed Science Award" from the Seed Science Society of America for its contribution to Research, Teaching, Professionalism, Service, Extension and Administration. A new course has been added this year: Seed Quality--Seed Production and Genetics. It will be taught by Roger Levy with a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois in Genetics and extensive industry experience. Gil Waibel of Indiana Crop Improvement Association teaches the Seed Vigor course. Mr. Waibel has over 30 years’ experience as an expert seed analyst and seed lab director.

The courses offered include:

  1. Seed Anatomy and Identification
  2. Seed Development and Metabolism
  3. Seed Germination and Viability
  4. Seed Purity and Analysis
  5. Seed Vigor
  6. Seed Storage and Deterioration
  7. Vegetable Seed Production
  8. Seed Quality--Seed Production and Genetics

STEP also has a unique website with over 1700 color photos of native, crop and weed seeds to help the seed analyst and anyone in the seed industry identify unknown or questionable seeds. Seed also includes written descriptions of the species and 100X magnification for ease of identification. The site has a user-friendly search mechanism for many different seed characteristics including size, shape, color, and texture. Identification is by common and scientific name. Species included are agricultural grain, forage, vegetable, tree, shrub, herb, flower and state and federal noxious weeds.

One of the most useful options is the Seed Comparison Tool that allows one to identify seeds that look similar by showing 2 seeds side-by-side on the same screen. A video demonstration of how the database works can be seen by going to and clicking on the "Seed Database Demo link. is a Virtual Herbarium and a valuable resource for seed technologists, conditioners, company managers, educators and related research institutions. Cost is $100/year or $175/ 2 years. If you would like a trial subscription, there are three options: 3 days $10.00, 3 months $35.00 and 6 months $65.00. To renew your subscription or to initially subscribe, visit the SEED IMAGES website at and click on the “Subscribe Now” link.

For further information on the STEP Course Program and contact Karen Allison at Phone # (970) 491-6295.

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