An Industry Plan for Crop-Trait Access in Europe, An All-American Beef and More
Agricultural Crop Licensing Platform Launched in Europe
A group of nine seed companies have joined together to launch the “Agricultural Crop Licensing Platform” (ACLP) in the European Union as a unified portal through which companies and plant breeders can gain access to patented traits in commercialized agricultural crop varieties. According to ALCP, “As soon as a commercial variety including a patented trait, that is in the scope of the ACLP, is sold by a member on the open market in the ACLP territory, other members will be entitled to obtain from the patent holder, a so-called non-assert that allows for breeding in the ACLP territory with the patented trait, including using its specific markers.” In addition to a contractual breeding exemption for patented traits, the platform indicates that a standardized license is a potential option to commercialize varieties bred under the non-assert. Individually negotiated bilateral licenses will remain an option as well.
Breeders and companies must become members of ACLP for at least 5 years to take advantage of the platform. Upon exiting the ACLP, a former member will remain obligated to grant non-asserts on patented traits to remaining members for 5 years after leaving. Membership fees will be based on the operational costs for ACLP, and small companies are offered free membership for the first 5 years of ACLP’s incorporation.
There seems to be at least passing similarity between the ACLP and the AgAccord, a contractual framework developed in the U.S. among the major crop-trait developers for granting access to off-patent traits and maintaining regulatory responsibilities.
An All-American Beef
The USDA has proposed a new rule for labeling meat, poultry, and eggs with a “Product of USA” label which tightens requirements for what qualifies as American-made. The new rule is a result of the 2021 Executive Order, Promoting Competition in the American Economy, part of which focused on meat and poultry supply chains. A survey commissioned by USDA found that the current “Product of USA” standards were misleading because the majority of consumers believed it meant that “the product was made from animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.” Instead, the current standard only requires products to be packaged in the U.S. The new rule, which will remain voluntary, will limit the label to “animals born, raised, slaughtered and processed in the United States.”
Comments from various beef groups were reported by DTN Progressive Farmer and show that some are happy, some are sad, some are winners, and some are losers.
- Farm Action and American Grassfed Association – was pretty happy and felt the new rule closed a “heavily exploited loophole.”
- North American Meat Institute – was pretty sad and felt that “more than public sentiment should be considered” for USA labeling claims, such as the American workers that process and repackage foreign meat.
- National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – was apparently unmoved and felt that the new label was not any better than the old label.
- R-Calf United Stockgrowers of America – was a bit happy and sad at the same time. They felt that the rule made some positive steps, but didn’t go quite far enough because it included meat sliced and packed in the US.
- U.S. Cattlemen’s Association – was the big winner and couldn’t be happier with the new rule.
The cattle themselves were deeply offended by the new rule, and felt that their ancestry was both ignored and insulted. The European breeds (Angus, Charolais, Hereford, Simmental, etc.) announced their intentions to leave the U.S. if the new rule is implemented. The Zebu-influence breeds (known for their rowdy disposition) said they were preparing a lawsuit against USDA to enjoin the new rule when (and if) it goes into effect. The cross-bred groups had no immediate comment, but felt they had nowhere to go. (Just kidding! Can’t help but poke fun at these groups’ beef about Beef).
Miller Lite’s New Fertilizer
We love a clever and funny marketing campaign and Miller Lite has come up with a pretty good one with its “Bad $#!T to Good S#!T” campaign for Women’s History Month. In a nod to women brewers throughout history, Miller is taking the scantily-clad-women (sexist) beer advertising memorabilia from modern times (the Bad $#!T), and turning it into compost fertilizer for growing hops (the Good S#!T).
The hops grown from the compost will be donated to women brewers for brewing beer (even Better S#!T). And since fertilizer is a crucial ag input, the campaign is also a tribute to women in agriculture! A noble cause indeed!