Native Seed Stakeholders

A group of people having a discussion around a table

Making Connections across the Seed Supply Chain

The supply chain that provides native seed in Iowa is robust, diverse, and complex. It developed through partnerships and synergies among the Iowa DOT, USDA conservation programs, the native seed industry, TPC Plant Materials, non-profits, and others. Communication among stakeholders informs decision-making and supports the vital seed supply for roadsides and other restorations. 

Native Seed Stakeholder Meetings

Since 2019, the TPC has hosted annual Native Seed Stakeholder meetings in March at the University of Northern Iowa. We bring together members of diverse groups who share an interest in the native seed supply: native seed growers and consumers, researchers, agency staff, non-profit groups, and technical service providers. 

To be added to our invitation list, please email


2023 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting

The 2023 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting was held on March 8, 2023 at UNI. Due to technical difficulties, two of the presentations were not recorded, but are shared as slide decks. A video of the other presentations is linked below.

Presentation slides:

CRP Information and Updates - Matt Allen

Iowa DOT Native Vegetation Update - Nathan Pohlen

Video contents:

0:00:00 - The Grow Native! Program at 23: Marketing Native Plants in the lower Midwest – Carol Davit

0:30:30 - Developing a local ecotype native seed program in Iowa’s unique Loess Hills prairie ecosystem – Lance Brisbois 

0:55:45 - I've planted prairie, but how do I know if it's working? – Pauline Drobney

2022 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting

We gathered at UNI on March 11, 2022 for several prepared presentations followed by discussion and networking. To view videos of the talks, click the titles in the list below.

Update on TPC Plant Materials Activities — Laura Walter, Plant Materials, TPC

Native Seed Marketing Strategies and Potential for Collaboration – Nicolas Lirio, Hoksey Native Seed

Native Seed for County Roadside Programs – Kristine Nemec, Iowa Roadside Management, TPC

National Study of Seed Testing Lab Uniformity – Johnny Zook, Seed Program Supervisor, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

How Season of Planting Influences Establishment Success in Popular CRP Plantings – Justin Meissen, Research and Restoration, TPC

Current Directions at the Iowa DOT – Seana Godbold, Iowa DOT

CRP Updates and Conservation Cover Practice Standard Review – Nicky Williams, Resource Conservationist, NRCS

2021 Virtual Stakeholder Meetings

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we held two virtual panel discussions on topics suggested by past meeting participants. 

Native Seed Producers Panel - April 16, 2021

Several Midwestern native seed producers met online to discuss current issues, challenges, and practices in seed production. The Summary Report includes areas for future research and action items for a potential working group of regional native seed producers. For a link to the recording of the Native Seed Producers Panel, please send an email to

Native Seed: A Landowner's Perspective - July 16, 2021

The state of Iowa is roughly 97% privately owned. Landowners implementing conservation practices, like native prairie habitat, are a major driver of the market for native seed in Iowa.  Landowners and conservation planners joined us to discuss their experiences in planning and planting for conservation. The Summary Report includes a list of funding sources and partner organizations used by our panelists, advice for successful native seedings on working lands, and some ways the process could better meet landowners' needs.

2020 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting

Twenty-seven native seed stakeholders from Iowa and other Midwestern states met with TPC staff, AmeriCorps members, and UNI students on March 4, 2020 to celebrate 30 years of the Iowa Ecotype Project and discuss challenges and opportunities for the regional native seed market going forward.

Panelists included representatives from Allendan Seed Company, Iowa DOT, Iowa NRCS, and Xerces Society.

In order to support a diverse and sustainable native seed market going forward, participants identified needs in the following areas:

  • Research into native seed testing and production and establishment and management of plantings
  • Communication among stakeholders
  • Education of staff and clients, targeted marketing, and outreach to the public
  • Intersections of policy, practice, and research

A video of the morning sessions and a report summarizing the full meeting (including synthesis of outcomes) are provided here.

2019 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting

Response to the extreme spike in demand for native forb seed following the roll-out of the pollinator mix (CP-42) for Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) plantings.

  • 2015-2017, over 230,000 acres of pollinator CRP were planted in Iowa alone
  • high demand for forb seed resulted in price increases and ripple effects through the native seed supply chain

Nearly 50 participants from 4 states representing a range of perspectives on native seed - seed producers, consumers, conservation professionals, researchers, and regulators

Detailed summaries are found in the Report on the 2019 Native Seed Stakeholder Meeting

Key takeaways:

  • a draft model of the native seed supply chain to increase understanding of how its parts interact
  • a set of suggestions for improving the seed plan development process (direct communication between suppliers and field offices, improved efficiency)
  • ideas for increasing communication among seed producers so that they can share best practices and learn about policy changes
  • questions about seed mix design and planting practices that could be addressed through research
  • clarification of the issues around seed quality assurance
  • other research questions – seed testing variability, methods for improving production plot longevity/productivity, market research for source-identified seed