The breeding and development of improved turfgrass varieties is a time-consuming and complex process. As Terry Hollifield, executive director of the Georgia Crop Improvement Association, points out on the front page of the association’s Spring 2017 newsletter, “Since the passage of the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) in 1970 and revised in 1994 and the ability to patent a plant or trait, new variety development has accelerated. Plant patents and PVPA, known as Intellectual Property Protection laws, allow developers to have exclusive access to their product and thus be rewarded for their time and investment.”
Without this type of protection, turfgrass breeders would have little incentive to spend years (and sometimes decades) trying to create turfgrass varieties with enhanced tolerance to drought, shade or extremes in temperature, or with modified growth habits that make maintenance easier, or with improved resistance to diseases and/or insects. Protection of such “intellectual property” has played a key role in assuring that such researchers — and, eventually, turfgrass growers — are rewarded for their investment in new varieties.
To read Mr. Hollifield’s full message, as well as an interesting related article from the Seed Innovation & Protection Alliance on page 3 of the newsletter, click here.