In addition, the breeder to-day must make excessive charges for specimens of the new variety disposed of by him at the start in order to avail himself of his only opportunity for financial reimbursement. Under the bill the breeder may give the public immediate advantage of the new varieties at a low price with the knowledge that the success of the variety will enable him to recompense himself through wide public distribution by him during the life of the patent. The farmers and general public that buy plants will be able promptly to obtain new improved plants at a more moderate cost.
Economie Benefit to Agriculture and the Public.
The food and timber supply of the Nation for the future is dependent upon the introduction of new varieties. Many millions of Federal and private funds are annually spent in combating disease through plant quarantines, disinfection, spraying, and other methods. The phoney peach disease has threatened the important peach supply of Georgia and the welfare of one of the most important industries of that State. The chestnut blight has wiped the eastem forests clean of the valuable chestnut tree. The white pine blister rust threatens the white-pine forests. The plant pathologist has through his experiments attempted with but slight success to combat these plant diseases. But an cqually valuable means of combating plant disease is the development of new disease resistant varieties by the plant breeder. The bill proposes to give the breeder the incentive to develop such varieties without the aid of Federal funds. .
Similarly, the development of drought-resistant and cold-resistant varieties of plants is of great importance to agriculture. An apple with greater resistance to cold is one of the demands of the northern portion of the country. We must look to the plant breeder for an acceptable substitute for rubber. The improvement of medicinal plants is an unexplored field. The spectacular development of new classes of plants, such as the loganberry and many of Burbank's products, is only a small part of the economie benefit to the country afforded by successful plant breeding.
No one will question the fact that new varieties of food, medicmal, and other economie plants may be an important factor in maintaining public health and in promoting public safety and national defense. Thus the food supply of the Nation, both from the viewpoint of the producer and the user, is of vital importance, and insurance against failure in that supply is necessary to public safety and national prosperity. Plant breeding and discovery, while in its infancy, is fundamentally connected with the Nation's food supply, and will, if encouraged and developed, be of incalculable value in maintaining public health and prosperity, and in promoting public safety and the national defense. Finally, plant patents will mean better agricultural products that will give the public more actual value for its dollar.
II. Bill Generalij' Advocated.
The proposed legislation was originally introduced by Senator Townsend as S. 3530 of this session. The present measure is substantially the same as the original bill except for the elimination of patents for certain newly found plants and the granting of patents irrespective of the fact that the plant may, under some conditions, reproduce itself without human aid.
The proposed legislation has been generally advocated. The Secretary of Agriculture, whose letter appears in full in Appendix A to this report, states that—