AgWeek notes that the South Dakota Board of Regents and South Dakota State University are already acting more like Monsanto (on whose board sits SDSU president Dr. David Chicoine). Evidently the Regents (i.e., us, South Dakota tax- and tuition-payers) are suing five producers for illegally selling or offering for sale the spring wheat varieties Traverse and Briggs. Said wheat varieties were developed by SDSU researchers and remain intellectual property of the university.
The Regents are suing under the Plant Variety Protection Act, the same law Monsanto uses to intimidate farmers to keep them from saving seeds and to protect its profits. SDSU says the suit's primary goal is to "support farmers who rely on the continued development of better wheat varieties for their farming success"—in other words, make sure dealers pay the proper fees that trickle back to SDSU to support more research.
So remember, farmers: those seeds in your field don't really belong to you... well, at least not for 20 years. You're just licensing them, like software from Microsoft.
*patented? Well, not exactly: PVP is an alternative to the official patent system, but it's a similar intellectual property protection mechanism.
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