Source: blog by Todd Martin, CEO, Independent Professional Seed Association (IPSA)

After reviewing the 86-page Agricultural Marketing Service report, “More and Better Choices for Farmers: Promoting Fair Competition and Innovation in Seeds and Other Agricultural Inputs,” I am happy to see the focus on critical issues for Independent Seed Companies by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This is a trying time for Independent Seed Companies in the corn and soybean business. Beyond the difficulty in seed production, that every single one of our members face, challenges in the competitive environment are at an all-time high. The competitive aspects of intellectual property are long over do for review. IPSA and Independent companies support protection for invention and innovation, but for too long this process has been legally managed through multiple patent strategies to block innovation and generic entries into the market place. This is financially damaging to both seed companies and farmers alike.

We must remember the dramatic role played by Independent Seed Companies when it comes to innovation. These are the very companies that changed the world with hybrid corn – an innovation from individual breeders and brought forward because of Independent Seed Companies. These are the types of innovations that propelled American agriculture to the place it is today. We must find a way to protect these companies from anticompetitive practices in the marketplace in order to continue to enable innovation beyond multinational companies.

I applaud Secretary Vilsack, Andy Green and the USDA team for recognizing and taking actions to help level the competitive field for seed companies.