Since lots of people looked at my original post but nobody responded I'll take a guess that folks might be interested in Joyce Fingerhut's helpful email to me. The big "duh" moment came when she told me that the NARGS website had instructions on how to get a permit under the Seed section. I decided to just mail in an application rather than going somewhere to be "verified".
Here's her email:
Hi Jan -
I'm hoping that I can help you. Part of the issue depends on how you
obtained your Small Lots of Seed permit in the first place: whether
you went through the process of getting a Level 2 authentication (by
showing a photo ID at an APHIS center), or made the application by
mailing it to APHIS, in Riverdale, MD.
If you made application online (after being authenticated), then you
can renew online, following pretty much the same process.
If you mailed in your application form, then you can download the
application and check that it's a renewal, and fill it out as before.
The whole process is explained (I hope clearly, but I made have left
some things muddled) on the NARGS website:http://www.nargs.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=140:small-lots-of-seed&catid=75:seedex&Itemid=123
One caveat, which I sometimes forget about myself: if you are
authenticated, then you must go to your personal site and keep it
active (I change a comma here or there) every six months, or your
authentication will become inactivated. I just did that the other
night, after suddenly remembering that time was almost up.
If your account has been made inactive, then you will have to begin
the process all over (sigh), or make your application by mail. It
will take slightly longer by mail, but not that much - - and you have
some time before the Canadian/overseas seed lists are out.
Please feel free to ask any specific questions that I have not answered.
Best regards -