Home Native Plant Network Journal Articles Trends in the western native plant seed industry since 1990

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Trends in the western native plant seed industry since 1990


In the 1990s western native seed markets expanded beyond traditional mineland reclamation and wildlife
habitat customers to fire rehabilitation
and nonprofit organization conservation efforts. The USDA Conservation
Reserve Program's emphasis on native plants for agricultural set-aside acreage was also a major contributor
to industry growth during this period. In contrast to 13 y ago, government-based demand now dominates the
market. Unpredictable government demand resulting from CRP and wildland fires has caused sharp price escalations when demand has exceeded supply. Conversely, overplanting and
subsequent multi-year harvests of these perennial crops have resulted in price drops as seed stocks accumulated in the face of weakened demand. But overall, prices quadrupled
between 1990 and 2000 before falling back in the 2000 to 2002 period.
Furthermore, from 1996 to 2000 native grass seed acreage increased 118% to nearly 6070 ha (15000 ac). Today, seed
crops are much more likely to be produced by growers under contract to seed companies, rather than speculatively by producers/marketers as was typical in 1990.

Issue & Pages:

Fall 2003 Pages: 88-94

Article Download:

4-2NPJ88-94.pdf (PDF document)


  • Richard A Dunne
  • Claire Gabriel Dunne


production, Conservation ReserveProgram, prices, fire rehabilitation, seed, Bureau of Land Management

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