Independent Plant Breeders’ Conference By Bridget White

Whether you are actively breeding plants or just want to know a little more about

The demand for new crops in the American market is skyrocketing beyond the ability of universities and industry to keep up. The independent plant breeder is now a key source for new plant introductions. Independently breeding good-quality hybrids can be a lucrative business if handled correctly. However, most independent breeders hybridize plants because they love them, not because they are experts in the business of marketing. Most do not know how to approach taking their hybrids to market. There are horror stories everywhere of deals gone bad, stolen plants, “millions” lost.

The Independent Plant Breeders’ Conference (IPBC) can teach you all about the business of plant breeding, whether you actually breed plants, or you just want to know more about the industry. Scheduled for Nov. 18-20, 2005, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., IPBC will focus on connecting plant nuts with marketing companies, teaching the intricacies of the industry and enabling you to make a living at your passion.

Who Should Attend

It doesn’t matter what kind of plants you’re working with, the rules remain the same. If you are breeding annuals, perennials, bulbs, trees, shrubs, orchids, camellias, roses or any other crop, this conference will teach you how to be successful at your passion and enable you to get some feedback on your work from international industry experts.

This is your opportunity to hear from the experts in plant patenting and to hear from successful small breeders who have learned how to make the system work. You will also be able to show your work (photo albums only) to the leaders in plant introductions and interact with international and regional companies. You will be able to obtain feedback from the industry on how to improve your hybrids, where to find the best deals for the release of your hybrids and how to master the realities of plant patenting. You will also learn how to market yourself and your collection to the top firms in the United States. Ultimately, as an informed breeder, you will spend less money, endure less heartache during the plant introduction process and learn how to ensure the future of your plant collection.

This conference will provide an opportunity for networking, information exchange and practical information related to independent breeding of ornamental plants. If you are active in the plant-breeding field, this is the conference for you.

Tentative Agenda

The sessions will be grouped into three major divisions: 1) stacking the deck in your favor: things you should know, 2) stand up and testify: learning from the people who have succeeded, and 3) do you have a plan: what you should be looking for in a business relationship? Some of the topics to be covered include :Runaway success or niche specialty? Which will your plant be? — Brian Corr, Ball Horticultural Company. A discussion of why some beautiful plants succeed and others remain obscure and hard to find.

How to protect your work — C. Anne Whealy (invited), Proprietary Rights International, and Beth Lamb, Tissue Culture Lab. Topics covered in this talk include trial agreements, plant variety protection patents, the 1-year law, international patents, legalities and details.

Keeping it clean! — Philip Harmon, University of Florida. One of the biggest problems the commercial industry faces with new crops is hygiene at the breeder level; it affects quality of product and time to introduction.

Selecting the one that works! — Jim Berry, Plant Development Services Inc. You might think there’s nothing more important than hybridizing, but what about how to decide which traits to pursue.

Using an eye for plants — John Gray, Lake Area Nurseries. Hear from a breeder/collector who has patents in America, Japan and Europe. How did he do it? What advice does he have for other breeders?

Picking someone to spend your life with — Tony Avent, Plant Delights Nursery. Learn how to make and keep a successful business partnership alive. Lessons include : fidelity in relationships, trial agreements and the realities of plant naming.Priceless or worthless? — Pam Allenstein, North American Plant Collections Consortium Coordinator. It may hurt to think about, but most collections die with their originators because few plan ahead. Learn your options and make plans.It is about more than the cultivar — John Gaydos, Proven Winners Inc. It isn’t just about a company getting your hybrid and that’s that. What about a long-range partnership?

Panel Discussion and Review — Get your questions answered with: Pam Allenstein, Tony Avent, Jim Berry, Brian Corr, Ray French, John Gaydos, John Gray, Beth Lamb and C. Anne Whealy.


The $100 registration fee, combined with funds contributed by the sponsors, allows plant breeders full participation in the conference, including the Breeder Showcase and Reception, opportunities to network with sponsoring plant introduction firms, a boxed lunch and conference materials. The fee also provides for morning, mid-morning and afternoon refreshments. Space is limited, and registration will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

For more information, contact Kimberly Brand, University of Florida, by phone at (352) 392-5930 or E-mail at

Bridget White

Bridget White is editorial director of GPN. She can be reached by phone at (847) 391-1004 or E-mail at

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