NDSU warns Elgin wheat sales could be in violation of breeders rights

Some U.S. seedsmen may be approaching Canadians to sell them certified Elgin-ND seed

FP Genetics is the only legal source for Elgin-ND pedigreed seed in Canada and this spring all its seed is going to Western Canadian seed growers to produce certified seed for commercial production in 2016.

Those who try to get seed from American suppliers are breaking plant breeders’ rights laws and face heavy penalties, warns the North Dakota State University Research Foundation (NDSURF) in a news release.

Elgin-ND is a high yielding, American Dark Northern Spring milling wheat developed at North Dakota State University (NDSU). It was recommended for a three-year interim registration by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Wheat, Rye and Triticale at its annual meeting in February. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is expected to grant the interim registration shortly.

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The Canadian Grain Commission says once commercial production begins Elgin-ND will be marketed through its new interim wheat class.
Elgin-ND will be popular with Western Canadian farmers because of its potentially high yields and relatively good milling characteristics, Rod Merryweather, FP Genetics’ chief financial officer said in an interview May 8.

Elgin-ND is a sister variety to Faller and Prosper that generally have slightly lower protein and gluten strength compared to wheats in the Canada Western Red Spring wheat class.

Some U.S. seedsmen and others may be approaching Canadian farmers or companies in Canada to sell them certified Elgin-ND seed or vice versa, the release says.

“U.S. seedsmen or other parties are in violation of NDSURF’s PVP (Plant Variety Protection) rights if they sell or transfer seeds to any Canadian entity other than through FP Genetics Inc.,” said NDSURF’s executive director Dale Zetocha. “This includes seed or grain of any nature or classification that is exported into Canada and converted to seed after it crosses the border or seed that is mislabelled as another variety until after it crosses the border.

“NDSURF will prosecute any known infringement of its PVP rights. Anyone violating the export, import or unauthorized sale of Elgin-ND hard red spring wheat could face triple damages. Also, violators are subject to the collection of attorney fees, other costs and harvested material. The court could, upon request, order the infringer to immediately cease the growing and/or sale of all NDSURF-protected varieties.”

Farmers approached to sell Elgin-ND seed in Canada by anyone other than FP Genetics Inc. should contact Ron Weik at (306) 791-1045.

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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