We have recently received a number of enquiries from growers, particularly concerning why they cannot buy grain from their neighbour to plant if the neighbour is including it on his own FSS return.


In the current adverse weather conditions this question is understandable, but such trading is against the law.


To qualify as farm-saved seed the seed must have been grown on the farmer’s own holding and resown on his own holding. Only then does the farmer benefit from the farm-saved seed exemption and may use the seed as propagating material provided that he declares this and makes the appropriate payment.


If seed does not meet the above definition, it is not farm-saved seed.


Seed may not be traded or otherwise marketed, transferred or bartered, even if no money changes hands unless it is officially certified and the person doing the trade is licensed by Defra to trade in seed and by BSPB to trade in protected varieties. Unless these conditions are met, the transfer of seed will be in breach of seeds marketing regulations (which are enforced by APHA) and infringe PBR (enforced by the holder of rights). It is irrelevant whether a farm-saved seed payment has been made if the seed is not re-sown on the farmer’s own holding.


Where grain is brought in by a farmer and then sown as seed, there is no breach of seeds marketing regulations but there is an infringement of PBR as the farmer does not have permission from the holder of rights, the breeder, to use this material as propagating material and the breeder has not had opportunity to collect a royalty for the use of the variety. The breeder is entitled to seek an injunction to prevent the farmer continuing to grow the crop and/or compensation for the infringement of PBR.


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