In 2005 the state potato commissions of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho launched a new nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation called the Potato Variety Management Institute (PVMI) to handle the licensing and royalty collection on Tri-State potato varieties. It was developed as a grower-controlled alternative to the universities’ efforts to manage varieties and interact with industry in royalty collection. PVMI hopes to provide the following main benefits to the industry:
- Exert grower control over varieties developed through grower supported research
- Work with end-users to increase adoption of new varieties in processing, grocery, and restaurant trades
- Use market research to focus variety development goals
- Manage distribution and use of varieties around the world
- Return royalties directly to Tri-State potato research programs
PVMI is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors and an Executive Committee.
PVMI’s main mission is to promote new varieties of potatoes in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington and further afield. This includes everything from the administration of licenses and royalty fees, promotion, marketing, and creating opportunities for increased variety utilization and commercialization.
PVMI seeks to be transparent and open in all its policies and insure that the funds generated are returned to the Tri- State potato breeding program. PVMI hopes to maximize the potential success of new varieties by providing marketing information regarding variety features and management to growers, and feedback to researchers.
One of the initial responsibilities of PVMI is to help improve communications — to provide the intelligence link that is key to every successfully marketed product in the 21st century. Improved market research and feedback may help to clarify criteria for some types of varieties and to find niche markets for other varieties that may have been discarded at an early stage. PVMI will seek out these opportunities and help expedite the use and commercialization of new varieties by working with industry.
Part of the job of PVMI is to establish trust and working relationships within the industry, and increase communication among all the players. By better tracking of the movement of materials for evaluation, PVMI will also help prevent the unlicensed use of protected varieties.