While most of the country is braving cold and blustery winter conditions, farmers and gardeners are busy looking ahead to the spring. They are contemplating the variety of seeds or the plants that they will use. The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) increases the options for our farmers, gardeners, and plant breeders by making sure there is an abundance of varieties available.
We do this through our Plant Variety Protection Office (PVPO), which grants certificates of intellectual property protection to developers of new plant varieties. These certificates enable breeders to market their variety exclusively for 20 years. The protection is an incentive for the development of new and improved varieties.
To find ways to gain new ideas, evaluations and insights about our program, USDA works closely with our key stakeholders through an important advisory committee -- the Plant Variety Protection Board.
USDA is currently seeking candidates for the Plant Variety Protection Board. Serving on the board is a great opportunity for a number of reasons. You can join a group of stakeholders from across the industry looking to pool their expertise and resources to develop new varieties. As a board member, you can also help continue agricultural production and increase food security.
We encourage people from all backgrounds to seek a position on the board. Current members are farmers, plant breeders, seed industry experts, university professors, and lawyers who have involvement with plant varieties. We believe that having a diverse advisory committee helps strengthen the future of American agriculture. Together, we can face an increasing world population, climate change, and plant pest/disease outbreaks.
Nomination packages must be received on or before Feb. 6, 2015. The board usually meets two times a year – a teleconference and a face to face meeting at the American Seed Trade Association’s December meeting in Chicago. Members serve for two years and can be reappointed for up to three consecutive terms. The current board’s term will expire in May 2015.
USDA is committed to plant variety protection. It is a great benefit to us all. If you have a passion for plant variety protection, we encourage you to seek a spot on the board.