Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has appointed a west Kentuckian to a two-year term on the Plant Variety Protection Board. Brent Burchett is one of 14 members who will advise Perdue on how to uphold the rules and regulations of the Plant Variety Protection Act.
Burchett is the Director of Plant Marketing for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. He says protection is ‘critical’ to ensuring innovation in the seed sector.
“It's really important that we get feedback from home gardeners or anyone that is involved in plant propagation [...] to make sure that we are aware of how significant protecting these varieties are so we can have continued investment in the ag economy,” Burchett said.
He said there has been a lot of discussion by the previous board on allowing molecular markers as supplemental evidence to determine morphologically indistinguishable plant varieties.
Burchett said mostly the board will work to ensure that the language of the plant variety act meets the needs of farmers, researchers and the seed industry. Intellectual property protection offered to plant breeders can last up to 25 years.
The PVP Board consists of farmers, the seed industry, trade and professional associations, and public and private research institutions.