The University of
Florida Plant Breeders Workgroup
During the period
of rapid growth in numbers of students and faculty at the University
of Florida (ca. 1960 to 1985) several additional plant breeding
programs were initiated or existing programs were expanded.
Suport for such programs came primarily from state budgest and
limited federal project funding. Dramatic prog4ress was made
in adapting plants to the Florida environment and in improving yield
and pest resistance of important crops. Beginning in the late
1980s, competition for limited support dollars and retirements of
many post-WWII faculty resulted in reductions in numbers and scope
of some breeding programs.
The UF/IFAS Plant Breeders Workshop organized and began
meeting annually in August 1993 with the goal of coordinating
statewide plant breeding efforts. Membership is open to all
active and emeritus UF/IFAS Plant breeders. Initial efforts
focused on two area, recruitment and training of graduate students,
and efforts to increase base support of breeding programs. One
of the early accomplishments of the Workgroup was development and
implementation in 1995 of a uniform UF/IFAS policy for release of
new cultivars under appropriate intellectual property protection
agreements. This policy was developed with the intention of
providing incentive for new cultivar development by maximizing
cultivar royalty returns to individual breeding programs.
Figure 1 shows the increase in number of cultivars released by
UF/IFAS by decade and Figure 2 shows the yearly releases for the
16-yr period 2001 to 2016. Major increases in cultivar
development occurred in the decards of the 1980s, 90s and an even
more dramatic increase in the first decard of the 2000s. The
trend of increasing releases continues with 197 cultivars released
in the seven-year period 2010 to 2016. Figure 3 shows the
growth in cultivar royalties and funds generated by plant licensing
intellectual property contracts since 30-yr period 1987 to 2016.
Royalty collections for the period 1978 to 1984 averaged
approximately $75,000 per year (data not shown). For the
period 1985 to 2000 royalties average approximately $250,000 annual,
with noticeable increases to over $500,000 in 1998 to 2000.
From 2001 to 216 with full implementation of the UF/IFAS cultivar
release incentive policy, total royalty collections have grown from
just over $600,000 to over 12.5 million in 2016, indicating the
success of recently developed UF/IFAS cultivars. A linear
regression analysis of this growth shows an average increase in
royalties of about $1,000,000 per year over the ten year
period 2007 to 2016 (Figure 4).