New Leader Named For Florida Foundation Seed Producers

John Beuttenmuller has been named executive director of Florida Foundation Seed Producers Inc., which produces and licenses new plant varieties developed by faculty with the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Beuttenmuller took the post July 1. He has worked in UF’s cultivar licensing program since 2005, most recently as FFSP’s intellectual property and licensing director. As executive director, he oversees breeding programs for more than 40 crops and a 750-acre seed stock farm in Marianna.

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“I see this as an excellent opportunity,” Beuttenmuller said. “I’m excited to be involved in an organization that truly has the ability and track record of contributing greatly to agriculture in Florida, the U.S. and the world, as well as the continued success of plant breeding programs at UF.”

 
Since 1971, FFSP has been a UF direct support organization, licensing cultivars to producers who grow and sell the crops, then pay UF a portion of the proceeds in the form of a royalty. The organization has been phenomenally successful recently. During fiscal year 2009-10, IFAS revenue from licensed cultivars was $3.78 million, a sixfold increase from 2000-01.

One reason is that IFAS makes cultivar development a priority, Beuttenmuller said. At a time when many land-grant universities are cutting back on plant breeding programs, UF is taking the opposite tack, and is able to do so because of the current success of cultivars licensed by FFSP.

Of the royalties generated by FFSP’s licensing activities, 70% are reinvested in the UF breeding program. So for every dollar in cultivar royalties UF receives, 70 cents goes back to the research team who developed the cultivar.

Two of Beuttenmuller’s goals are encouraging new plant breeders and garnering bigger market shares for Florida crop producers and, thus, the new varieties developed by UF breeders. Some of the university’s most successful breeding programs include blueberry, peanut, strawberry and tomato, annual ryegrass, and the ornamental plants aglaonema, caladium and coleus.

Source: UF/IFAS news release