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Cross Pollination Germination January 2012

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Pioneer’s New Use of Patents

“These aren’t plant variety patents, but rather variety improvement patents on specific cells in soybean plants,” says Dave Harwood of Pioneer Hi-Bred, referring to the company’s recent announcement regarding new patents that will protect its new soybean varieties coming to market next spring. Although only one Pioneer soybean cultivar has been patented so far, patents are pending on more than 50 and will be in place in the New Year, in time for seeding next spring.

Big Issues Tackled at Third Seed Congress of the Americas

“I’m very pleased with the number of people that travelled to Santiago, Chile for this meeting, and extremely impressed with the number of high-level executives who participated in the discussions,” says Diego Risso, secretary general of the Seed Association of the Americas. “SAA continues to expand the relationship between regulators and industry with more than 10 countries represented. Phytosanitary decisions made in individual countries have extreme impact on the entire SAA group and we were able to pull together a group of stakeholders to address recent regulations that may have considerable negative impact on the movement of seed within the Americas. We also had two days of closed-door meetings prior to the congress with regulators and industry identifying key areas of concern and dialogue on low level presence. This presentation is available on the SAA website.”

“I am very impressed with the commitment that the SAA member countries have to resolve issues and facilitate enhanced trade,” adds Patty Townsend, CEO of the Canadian Seed Trade Association. “Together we have made tremendous progress on some very important issues that can serve as a model for the broader international community.”

Marketing Freedom’s Impact on Innovation in Canada

At the recent Canadian Seed Trade annual meeting, Paul Martin of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada gave an update on the government’s new marketing freedom legislation and its possible impact on innovation in the seed industry. Currently, the Canadian Wheat Board collects funding for research organizations such as the Western Grains Research Foundation, the Canadian International Grains Institute and the Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre. “One concern is that in moving to a voluntary market we anticipate the CWB will have less than a one per cent market share, so they will be collecting less money for these organizations,” says Martin. Therefore, he says the new legislation contains an interim solution in which the government will be providing a point of sale check-off. “Regulation is coming and it will be a voluntary refund mechanism. The intent is to provide replacement of funding over the transition period. It’s not a long-term solution,” says Martin. He says industry now needs to develop a long-term plan for ongoing funding in which the grain sector will be supported in developing permanent funding mechanism to satisfy its goals. “Industry will have greater control and input into the establishment of a more inclusive plan,” says Martin.

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