Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Protected wheat varieties woes - what you don´t know can hurt you

09.02.2004


Possession isn’t necessarily nine-tenths of the law, especially if the purchase is a wheat variety protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act. This misunderstood and often-ignored law may soon become more stringently enforced, largely due to the stepped-up use of DNA plant testing.



Gary Bomar, Texas Cooperative Extension agricultural agent for Taylor County, said the practice of "catching" or keeping some of the current crop’s production for planting the following season has long been practiced in the farming business.

"That’s not a problem in itself," he said. "The law says farmers may save a limited amount of a protected variety seed for replanting, but they can’t sell planting seed to anyone without permission from the owner. Of course, if the seed is not a protected variety, there are no restrictions.


"Variety infringement cases are popping up all over the United States, and there will be one here one day. We’ve got too much wheat grown here for there not to be. It’s already happened in Wichita Falls. We in Extension are always talking about an educational opportunity. But the real education in this case will be when a producer out here gets fined about $35,000. That’s going to educate them pretty quick."

JW "Dub" Vinson owns Abilene Ag Service and Supply. He also holds the rights to WinMaster, a PVPA wheat variety that’s popular among Central West Texas producers.

Vinson explained the scenario: "Say a farmer plants some of this WinMaster seed, a protected variety, and that wheat did pretty well for him. So he says, ‘Well I’ll just catch some of that seed and sell it to my neighbor.’ Abilene Ag is entitled to a royalty from that sale. If I don’t get paid that royalty or give permission for that specific sale, then it’s against the law. In fact it’s a federal offense.

"That’s the real kicker in it. It’s not a misdemeanor, it’s a federal offense and they can carry you to the federal courthouse. And the royalty owner wins them all."

Vinson said they win them all because DNA testing is so accurate now that a person can plant a protected variety, sell the resulting seed and wheat heads pulled from the subsequent crop can be traced to the original parent crop.

"You can tell them it’s against the law," said Vinson, "and they’ll say ‘Why, I bought that seed. That’s my seed and I’ll do what I want with it.’

"But they know it’s a protected variety. It’s on the tag. They have to sign a form when they buy it. If a farmer brings wheat seed here for us to clean and treat, they’ve got to specify what variety it is. If they tell me it’s a protected variety they want to clean and sell to somebody else, I tell them I won’t process it. They’ll have to go somewhere else."

Bomar summed up the problem by saying: "Even if you come to my farm and buy a PVPA wheat straight from the combine and plant it without paying the royalty, then we’re both guilty - even if you, the buyer, didn’t know the wheat was a protected variety. Granted, I should have told you, but even if I didn’t we’re both still technically liable.

"This is a serious matter that’s going to result in some mighty unhappy folks sooner or later if things don’t change."

Quick Facts concerning the PVPA found on the Web at http://www.ams.usda.gov/science/pvpo/PVPindex.htm state:

-The PVPA provides developers of new varieties of plants patent-like rights that protect the reproduction and distribution of their varieties.

-Varieties that are protected under the PVPA can be sold as seed stocks only with permission of the certificate holder and in some cases, only as a class of Certified seed.

-Varieties that are protected must have labels on the seed containers indicating the type of protection.

-Farmers may save a limited amount of seed for replanting, but cannot sell it to anyone without permission of the owner.

For more information on the PVPA contact: Plant Variety Protection Office Dr. Paul M. Zankowski, Commissioner, 10301 Baltimore Ave. Room 401 National Agricultural Library Build. Beltsville, MD 20705. The telephone number is (301) 504-5518; email address ispaul.zankowski@usda.gov

Steve Byrns | Texas A&M University
Further information:
http://agnews.tamu.edu/dailynews/stories/SOIL/Feb0504a.htm

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>