Subject: Research
Policy: Variety Release Policy
Revised: January 2018
Effective Date: February 1, 2018
Review Date: February, 2022
Responsible Party: Director, Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES)

Montana Agricultural Experiment Station (MAES) experimental lines are considered for release when the following conditions are met:

A.  TESTING

  1. The minimum number of testing locations and calendar years required for release are:

    a)    Cereal grains and pulses not intended for forage use require a minimum of 16 location-years collected in two cropping seasons for agronomic performance.
    b)    Perennial and annual forage crops require data from at least 12 location years, not including the year of seeding, with at least one location providing an estimate of winter hardiness and/or drought tolerance.
    c)    Horticulture and specialty crops require a minimum of one location and three cropping seasons.
    d)    Native plants require AOSCA standards for source identified or selected class germplasm.

  2. Test results are adequate to determine the experimental lines' potential and limitations.  It is recommended that at least 4 location years of pest evaluation data is available to properly assess pest susceptibility.

B.  APPLICATION FOR RELEASE

  1. Applications should include the following information:

    a)    Agronomic and pest (e.g. disease resistance) data.
    b)    Quality data.
    c)    Variety description and number of increase generations permitted for seed certification program.
    d)    Status of Breeder and Foundation Seed.

  2. Variety release applications must be submitted in writing and electronically to Head, Department of Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology (PSPP).

C.  VARIETY RELEASE COMMITTEES

  1. The purpose of the Variety Release Committees is to decide whether a proposed variety is suitable for release, and make a recommendation to the Director of MAES.
  2. Variety Release Committees include:
    a)    Wheat
    b)    Barley
    c)    Pulses
    d)    Forage Crop (other than wheat, barley, or pulses)
    e)    Specialty Crop
    f)     Horticulture and Native Plants
  3. The Variety Release Committees will consist of:

    Variety Release Committees:
    Wheat, Barley, Pulse, Forage Crop, Specialty Crop, Horticulture & Native Plants

    Members

    Affiliation

    Appointing Administrator

    Chair (non-voting)

    PSPP Head

    Director MAES

    Voting Members (16)

    1. TBD annually

    Breeder

    PSPP Head

    2. TBD annually

    Quality, Cereal or Forage

    PSPP Head

    3. TBD annually

    Plant Pathologist

    PSPP Head

    4. TBD annually

    Representative

    MT Foundation Seed Program

    5. TBD annually

    Representative

    MT Seed Growers Association

    6. TBD annually

    Weed Scientist

    LRES Head

    7. TBD annually

    Cropping systems

    LRES Head

    8. TBD annually

    Entomologist

    LRES Head

    9. TBD annually

     

    NARC Superintendent

    10. TBD annually

     

    CARC Superintendent

    11. TBD annually

     

    WTARC Superintendent

    12. TBD annually

     

    NWARC Superintendent

    13. TBD annually

     

    EARC Superintendent

    14. TBD annually

     

    SARC Superintendent

    15. TBD annually

    Representative

    MAES State Advisory Council

    One member from below added to each of the Five Variety Release Committees:

    16. Wheat

    Representative

    MT Wheat & Barley Committee

    16. Barley – Feed

    Representative

    MT Wheat & Barley Committee

    16. Barley – Malt

    Representative

    American Malting Barley Association

    16. Pulse

    Representative

    MT Pulse Crop Committee

    16. Specialty Crop

    Representative

    Research Center Head

    16. Hort-Native Plant

    NRCS Scientist

    Bridger Plant Materials Ctr. Manager

    16. Other Forage Crop

    NRCS Scientist

    Bridger Plant Materials Ctr. Manager

    Ex-officio

     

    Representative

    V.P. for Research & Economic Development

  4. Chair will serve as a non-voting member for all variety release committees and will assign a Secretary.
  5. Committee recommendations shall be based on a majority rule basis. Written dissenting or concurring minority reports may be submitted.
  6. Committee members, if not present, must submit a written vote or request a proxy to the Chair.
  7. Non-voting members are encouraged to attend meetings and participate in the discussions.

D.  VARIETY RELEASE PROCEDURE

  1. Variety Release Committees will usually meet in mid-winter to allow adequate time for breeding and Foundation Seed programs to implement decisions.
  2. Chair will solicit applications, assign membership and forward applications to appropriate committee members.
  3. The breeder of the experimental line will present data and discuss its attributes, limitations, and recommended release option (E8a, b, or c).
  4. Variety Release Committee will consider whether the experimental line is equal or superior in overall merit to the check varieties or has unique characteristics or special-use considerations.
  5. Chair will submit the Committee recommendations for approval to the Director of MAES.
  6. Administrative action taken will be transmitted to the Chair within 30 days from the Director of MAES. Chair will in turn notify Committee members about the administrative review result.
  7. Variety Release Committees may waive the requirements of a specific rule(s) above based on the recommendation of three-fourths (75%) of the Committee voting membership.
  8. The Director of MAES has veto power over Committee action. The Director of MAES will make the final decision on whether a variety passes Variety Release or not. Written approval by the Director of MAES is necessary for variety release. 

E.  VARIETY PROTECTION AND LICENSING COMMITTEE

  1. The Director of MAES will charge a Protection and License Release Committee with providing a recommendation on the release process.
  2. Variety Protection and Licensing Committees include:
    a)    Wheat
    b)    Barley
    c)    Pulses
    d)    Forage Crop (other than wheat, barley, or pulses)
    e)    Specialty Crop
    f)     Horticulture and Native Plants
  3. The Variety Protection and Licensing Committees will consist of:

    Protection and License Release Committee

    Member

    Affiliation

    Appointing Administrator

    Chair (non-voting)

    Head, PSPP

    Director MAES

    Voting Members (5)

     

    Representative

    MAES State Advisory Council

    Wheat or Barley OR

    Board Member

    Montana Wheat & Barley Committee

    Pulse OR

    Board Member

    Montana Pulse Crop Committee

    Other

    Representative

    PSPP Head

     

    Representative

    Montana Seed Trade Association

     

    Representative

    PSPP Head

    Ex-officio

     

    Representative

    Montana Dept of Agriculture, Seed Division

     

    Representative

    V.P. for Research & Economic Development

  4. Chair will serve as a non-voting member for all variety release committees and will assign a Secretary.
  5. Committee recommendations shall be based on a majority rule basis. Written dissenting or concurring minority reports may be submitted.
  6. Committee members, if not present, must submit a written vote or request a proxy to the Chair.
  7. Non-voting members are encouraged to attend meetings and participate in the discussions.
  8. Variety Release Options:
    a)    Public Release: Variety of a new release is allocated to qualified seed grower(s) with no PVP and no research or royalty fee.

    b)    Protected MSU Public Release: New release is protected with PVP under Title V, and with a MAES Research Fee on Registered and Certified Seed sold.

    c)    License Release: New release is protected with PVP under Title V.  Variety is licensed under an exclusive (one business) or non-exclusive (more than one business) licenses by the MSU Technology Transfer Office (TTO).  MSU royalty fees are collected under license releases and MAES Research Fees are not collected.

F.  VARIETY PROTECTION AND LICENSING PROCEDURE

  1. There are two routes for matters to be submitted to the Protection and Licensing Committee for consideration.
    a)    If approved for release by the Variety Release Committee, the breeder shall submit an application to the Chair of the Variety Protection and Licensing Committee, with a recommended release option.
    b)    Alternatively, the MSU TTO may request the Protection and Licensing Committee to consider License Release of an MSU variety outside the state of Montana; without first gaining approval of the Variety Release Committee.  Similarly, TTO may request approval to License Release other licensable material.  Other licensable materials include MSU germplasm, experimental plant lines, and plant varieties which meet any of the following criteria:
    1. Variety is not superior in overall merit to the check varieties currently available in Montana.
    2. The licensable material was previously released as a Protected Public Release.
    3. The licensable material is no longer under active development at MSU.
    4. The licensable material was developed under a Sponsored Research Agreement or other such agreement that grants a license option to the sponsor.

    The criteria of Section A (TESTING) and the procedure for Section B (APPLICATION FOR RELEASE) are not required of other licensable materials; however, MSU TTO shall place requirements on licensees sufficient to reasonably ensure the delivery of a quality licensed product to the market.

  2. The Chair will assign membership and forward applications to appropriate committee members.
  3. The Committee may conduct business in person or via teleconference or e-mail.
  4. Committee members, if not present, must submit a written vote or request a proxy to the Chair.
  5. The Chair will serve as a non-voting member and will assign a Secretary.
  6. The breeder of the experimental line or MSU TTO will present data and discuss its attributes, limitations, and eligibility for a license release.
  7. Committee recommendations shall be based on a majority rule basis. Written dissenting or concurring minority reports may be submitted.
  8. Chair will submit the Committee recommendations for approval to the Director of MAES.
  9. Committees may waive the requirements of a specific rule(s) above based on the recommendation of three-fourths (75%) of the Committee voting membership.
  10. The Director of MAES has veto power over Committee action. The Director of MAES will make the final decision on Variety Release options (E8 a, b, or c).
  11. Administrative action taken will be transmitted to the Chair within 30 days from the Director of MAES. Chair will in turn notify committee members about the administrative review result.

G. PUBLIC RELEASE VARIETIES (options E.8.a. and E.8.b.)

  1. A Research Fee will be collected on all Registered Class and Certified Class seed sold of Protected Public Release varieties (option E.8.b.). The purpose of the fee is to provide direct support to the MSU breeding and other MSU plant improvement programs. The MAES Director will establish a MSU designated fund for protection of Plant Variety Protection (PVP) title V varieties. This will be distributed as follows: 1) pay for costs associated with PVP title V and fees (administrative and MAES), 2) 50% of net to breeding program that developed the variety generating the research fees and, 3) 50% of net to fund high priority programs for variety improvement, cereal quality and focused outreach.
  2. A Research Fee Agreement developed by MAES between the company/private entity and MSU will be executed prior to distributing Foundation Seed of a Protected Public Release (option E.8.b.) to the company/private entity.
  3. Montana Foundation Seed Program is responsible for the increase of Foundation class seed. Permission must be obtained from the PSPP Head and the Director of MAES to increase Foundation seed outside of these programs.

H. LICENSED VARIETIES (option E.8.c.)

  1. The Vice President for Research and Economic Development will make the final decision if and how to proceed with materials approved by the Variety Protection and Licensing Committee for Licensed Release.
  2. Each license release requires a license agreement with the MSU TTO, which will be responsible for marketing and negotiating appropriate license agreements.  Such license agreement may be exclusive (one company), non-exclusive (multiple companies), at the discretion of MSU TTO. 
  3. MSU royalty fees are collected with a License Release and MAES Research Fees are not collected.
  4. Montana Foundation Seed Program is responsible for the increase of Foundation class seed. Permission must be obtained from the PSPP Head and the Director of MAES to increase Foundation seed outside of these programs.

 Appendix A – Variety Release + Variety Protection and Licensing process

chart - variety release policy

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