AMS establishes seed liaison office, releases report |

AMS establishes seed liaison office, releases report

By Jerry Hagstrom, The Hagstrom Report
SAN FRANCISCO — As Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack announced here Monday that USDA would establish a Farmer Seed Liaison office, the Agricultural Marketing Service released a report, titled “More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs,” that includes recommendations for improving market fairness.
In a speech to the National Farmers Union convention, Vilsack said “AMS is standing up a new farmer seed liaison, which will deliver on report recommendations.”
“Specifically, the seed liaison will boost transparency and reduce confusion in a complex seed system by helping facilitate communication between farmers and plant breeders and the patent system,” AMS said.
USDA and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are forming a working group on intellectual property and competition in seeds and other agricultural inputs, AMS said, and with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, “will work to promote fair competition in the seed market.”
“AMS is releasing a Notice to Trade regarding compliance with disclosing the kind and variety of seeds under the Federal Seed Act,” the news release said.“
The notice underscores that farmers and seed businesses should know the kind and variety of the seed that they are getting from producers. USDA will also expand its portal to enable farmers and seed businesses to report tips and complaints related to competition and consumer protection in the seed markets.”
Click to download reportAMS noted that USDA and its academic cooperator, Julie Dawson, a plant scientist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, used feedback received during the public comment period and listening session to writing the report, which focuses on three ways to provide more and better seed choices to farmers:
▪ “Working with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to enhance robust and reliable intellectual property rights that appropriately take into consideration the farmer’s and plant breeder’s voice and expertise
▪ “Ensuring that seed businesses are engaged in fair competition and are not unfairly taking advantage of market power, and
▪ “Investing in the critical national infrastructure of more diverse seed variety development and stewardship to address local and regional food system needs and build greater resiliency into our food supply chains.”

AMS said that in each of these sections, the report “analyzes the current situation and makes recommendations that the U.S. government can implement to promote fair competition and innovation.”The Biotechnology Innovation Organization said it “appreciates that USDA and the Biden administration are aiming to increase access to modern, innovative seeds.”
BIO said is reviewing the report “to identify potential concerns about weakening intellectual property protections for biotech companies.”
“Strong patents, and an efficient, predictable and objective patent system, are critical to the seeds industry, which depends on patent-driven activities to fuel the development of new inventions and products that benefit the public,” BIO said.
“The patent system helps drive the development of improved seed and crop protection products that address challenges such as increasing harvests, allowing conservation of arable land and, ultimately, helping to feed the world’s growing population. Notably, almost all the foregoing activities are highly regulated by government agencies such as the FDA, EPA and USDA, which have decided that these developments are socially useful and should be promoted.
“However, one of the greatest challenges to expanding biotech’s benefits to more producers, as well as growing agriculture’s sustainability and the world’s food security, is the cost and time it takes to bring new traits to market due to the regulatory structure.
“Studies have found that over the past decade, the cost of regulation for biotech trait commercialization has grown more than 23 percent while regulatory time-frames grew 75%,” BIO said.
“While scientific advancements have made commercialization more efficient, the
resulting cost and time savings have been nearly canceled out by increases in regulatory costs and delays.”
Read the report at
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