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Kansas Wheat Alliance focuses on seed selling education

Kansas

Is that seed you are selling legal? As planting season inches closer concerns about legal seed transactions are surfacing.

In the last year many seed companies have started exercising their right to pursue individuals and companies that sell protected wheat seed varieties illegally. Although Kansas Wheat Alliance has pursued violators of the Plant Variety Protection Act, they want growers and retailers to know that their primary efforts are to educate and inform individuals, not punish them.

The PVPA protects varieties developed and marketed by private companies and organizations. KWA is the organization authorized to license and collect royalties on several K-State wheat varieties such as Jagger, Overley, Fuller, RonL, Danby and Everest. PVPA does allow farmers that plant certified seed to save seed from their crop to plant back the next year. But the law does not allow them to sell or give the saved seed to anyone else.

KWA has proactively promoted responsible management of protected varieties through support of the Farmers Yield Initiative. The FYI campaign illustrates how PVPA adds value to wheat production by supporting research and variety development. Selling seed illegally robs companies of the funding they need to continue advancement in the industry, which in turn deprives all farmers of new technologies and varieties.

Understanding the regulations associated with PVPA is the best way to avoid selling seed illegally. KWA recognizes that not everyone is an intentional violator, and prefers to educate them rather than penalizing these individuals. Only a few investigations result in a court appearance. Most are settled out of court without litigation. Many violators only receive a cease and desist letter, and agree to comply with PVPA regulations in the future. KWA strives to treat all farmers and retailers with respect and gives them the benefit of the doubt.

"Our goal is to have everyone complying with the laws regulating the property rights of those that develop wheat varieties," says Daryl Strouts, KWA executive director. "We would prefer to do this through education and persuasion. Investigation and litigation is really a last resort."

For more information on KWA, visit www.kswheatalliance.org, or call 785-477-3400.



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