USDA Announces Plant Variety Protection Board Appointments

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced the appointment of 14 members to serve on the Plant Variety Protection Board. The newly appointed members will serve two-year terms. Terms run from September 24, 2022, to September 24, 2024. 

Newly appointed members are:

Farmer Representation

  • Brent Robertson, Elsie, Nebraska

Private or Industry Representation

  • Audrey Charles, Naperville, Illinois
  • Barry Nelson, Cambridge, Iowa
  • Heidi Nebel, Johnston, Iowa
  • Paul Nelson, St. Charles, Missouri
  • Eloy Corona, Apex, North Carolina
  • Patricia Olosky, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Michelle Bos, Granger, Washington

Public or Government Representation

  • Jenny Koebernick, Auburn, Alabama
  • Andrae McMillian, Highland Home, Alabama
  • Felicia Jefferson, McDonough, Georgia
  • Peggy Ozias-Akins, Tifton, Georgia
  • Shubo Zhou, Gaithersburg, Maryland
  • Albert Tsui, Ithaca, New York

The Plant Variety Protection Act provides legal protection in the form of intellectual property rights to developers of new varieties of plants and calls for a Plant Variety Protection Board. The board consists of 14 members representing farmers, the seed industry, trade and professional associations, and public and private institutions involved with developing new plant varieties. Members of the board provide oversight and guidance to the program on plant variety protection issues.

The Plant Variety Protection Office examines new applications and grants certificates that protect varieties for 20 years or 25 years for vines and trees. Certificate owners have rights to exclude others from marketing and selling their varieties, manage the use of their varieties by other breeders, and enjoy the legal protection of their work.

More information is available on the Plant Variety Protection Office page on the AMS website.

AMS policy is that diversity of the boards, councils and committees it oversees should reflect the diversity of their industries in terms of the experience of members, methods of production and distribution, marketing strategies, and other distinguishing factors, including but not limited to individuals from historically underserved communities, that will bring different perspectives and ideas to the table. Throughout the full nomination process, AMS conducts extensive outreach, paying particular attention to reaching underserved communities, and consider the diversity of the population served and the knowledge, skills, and abilities of the members to serve a diverse population.