Gary Bomar, Texas Cooperative Extension agricultural agent for Taylor County, said the practice of "catching" or keeping some of the current crop's production for planting the following season has long been practiced in the farming business.
"That's not a problem in itself," he said. "The law says farmers may save a limited amount of a protected variety seed for replanting, but they can't sell planting seed to anyone without permission from the owner. Of course, if the seed is not a protected variety, there are no restrictions.
"Variety infringement cases are popping up all over the United States, and there will be one here one day. We've got too much wheat grown here for there not to be. It's already happened in Wichita Falls. We in Extension are always talking about an educational opportunity. But the real education in this case will be when a producer out here gets fined about $35,000. That's going to educate them pretty quick."
JW "Dub" Vinson owns Abilene Ag Service and Supply. He also holds the rights to WinMaster, a PVPA wheat variety that's popular among Central West Texas producers.
Vinson explained the scenario: "Say a farmer plants some of this WinMaster seed, a protected variety, and that wheat did pretty well for him. So he says, ?Well I'll just catch some of that seed and sell it to my neighbor.' Abilene Ag is entitled to a royalty from that sale. If I don't get paid that royalty or give permission for that specific sale, then it's against the law. In fact it's a federal offense.
"That's the real kicker in it. It's not a misdemeanor, it's a federal offense and they can carry you to the federal courthouse. And the r
Contact: Steve Byrns
Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications