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What Is a Seed Company?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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A seed company is a type of business that produces and market seeds for different types of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Companies of this type may operate retail outlets of their own, market their products through outlets such as discount retailers or farmer’s exchanges, or even offer their seed products by mail order or online sales. The target market for most seed companies is the home gardener, although some will also aggressively market to commercial farmers.

A seed company may be a relatively small operation that specializes in offering certain types of seeds for specific kinds of produce or flower varieties. When this is the case, the range of seeds offered is usually somewhat limited, and will be based on the time of year and the appropriate planting times for different types of plants. Smaller seed companies often rely heavily on catalog sales, making it a point to distribute catalogs to customers that contain products that are appropriate for an upcoming season. The frequency of publishing catalogs throughout the year will vary, based on the range of seeds offered and how those products relate to the different growing seasons.

Larger seed companies may focus on not only home gardeners but also commercial farming operations. Commercial customers may contract to receive a steady supply of seeds based on a schedule that is established within the context of a volume purchase agreement. Orders are placed with a seed company for specific types of seeds in quantities set by the customer, with delivery dates and set quantities for each shipment structured in advance. This approach allows the commercial client to obtain significant price breaks on the standard cost of the seeds while also setting up the delivery schedule to coincide with the strategic plan for planting, growing, and harvesting various types of plants throughout the calendar year.

In addition to seeds, it is not unusual for a seed company to also offer products that may be of interest to the amateur or professional gardener. These may include different types of fertilizer, hand tools suitable for use with a backyard or patio garden, and even containers that can be used to nurture the seedlings until they are ready for transplant into a garden. Along with catalogs and sale of seed packets in a number of retail outlets, it is not unusual for a seed company to maintain a web site that allows consumers access to a wide range of seed and gardening products that can be ordered and shipped with ease.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including WiseGeek, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By Spotiche5 — On Jan 15, 2015

@ocelot60- I have a friend that I visit every year, and there is a seed company in her town. The business also operates a small outlet store where gardeners can purchase all types of seeds. My friend and I have both planted seeds from this store, and have never had any problems with them sprouting and thriving.

Judging by what I have seen when I visit the seed outlet store, I think that the company simply produces enough seeds to have plenty left over to operate the small outlet store. I don't think that the seeds are damaged or defective in any way.

By Ocelot60 — On Jan 14, 2015

I was wondering if a seed outlet store that is operated by a seed company is a good place to buy vegetable and flower seeds. Are the seeds sold in the outlet store just as good as those the company sells to stores and by mail?

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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