Seed permit

Michael Mace
Fri, 21 Jan 2011 22:01:06 PST
Dennis wrote:

>> Wow. The e-application is hardly efficient or time-saving.  So now I
have to drive to another county and show my photo ID ?!??  No thanks.
I'll just mail in a paper application.  Geez.

I had exactly the same reaction when I applied.  For those of you who are
not familiar with what we're talking about, the US government gives you two
ways to apply for a seed import permit -- you can sign up for the electronic
filing system, or you can print and mail in a paper form.  The government
website strongly encourages you to use the electronic system, and in fact
it's hard to find the paper form at all.

But to use the electronic system, your ID has to be hand-verified by an
official of the US Department of Agriculture.  And USDA offices are,
naturally, in rural areas where the farms are.  They don't have them in
cities.  When I first applied for my seed permit, I wasted a huge amount of
time trying to figure out how I'd get over to my closest USDA office during
business hours.  It's in Hollister, CA (a small town about 90 minutes south
of San Jose).  Then finally I realized that I could just mail in the form.

Why they have to physically verify your ID to use an online form, but not to
use a mail-in form, is one of the great mysteries 21st century America.

San Jose, CA

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