Kansas Wheat Alliance announced today that it reached a settlement with Brett Parker and D&B Parker Farms LLC, Waterville, Kansas, for Parker’s unauthorized sale and use of the Fuller wheat variety. The United States Federal Court judge entered judgment for $200,000 and prohibits Parker from using KWA’s varieties in the future without strict adherence to the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA).
“This is a significant judgment,” said Daryl Strouts, KWA president.
KWA claimed that Parker had been illegally holding seed he received from others as payment for harvesting. Parker also used the illegal seed on his own and leased land. The PVPA prohibits a wheat producer from saving seed obtained illegally. The law also makes it illegal to sell saved seed to others.
Farmers have the freedom to select any number of commercially available varieties but most new varieties are protected by this law. Universities and private companies alike invest money into researching and developing new varieties to promote new traits like drought tolerance and disease resistance. Some portion of the investment is recaptured when producers buy Certified seed. The small royalty paid on each bag of Certified seed goes to future research.
“Purchasing Certified seed each year is the best way for farmers to ensure access to the best varieties in the future,” says Strouts.
Kansas Wheat Alliance, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization that was founded in 2007 with the goal of maximizing value for wheat farmers from new wheat varieties developed by Kansas State University and other wheat-breeding programs. The Kansas Wheat Alliance delivers modern genetic technology that is not otherwise showing up in wheat varieties, a real economic benefit to the wheat producers and end-users of the crop.