Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns has announced 14 appointments to the Plant Variety Protection Board. Appointees will serve two-year terms.

Appointed members are: June D. Blalock, Beltsville, Md.; Kent J. Bradford, Davis, Calif.; Steven J. Callistein, Johnston, Iowa; John C. Gardner, Columbia, Mo.; Russell S. Karow, Corvallis, Ore.; Patrick J. Kole, Eagle, Idaho; V. Larkin Martin, Courtland, Ala.; John H. Nelsen, Alvin, Texas; and Bernice Slutsky, Alexandria, Va.

Re-appointed members are: Kelly Book, Austin, Texas; Harry Collins, Scott, Miss.; Carl Johnson, Biggs, Calif.; Larry Svajgr, Lafayette, Ind.; and Katherine White, Detroit, Mich.

The Board is mandated by the Plant Variety Protection Act (PVPA) to advise the Secretary of Agriculture on the adoption of new rules and regulations, make advisory decisions on appeals from applicants and advise on declaring a protected variety open to public use in emergencies. The Board was established by Congress in 1970 and includes farmers, representatives of the seed industry and public and private plant breeders.

The PVPA is administered by USDA's Plant Variety Protection Office, which grants certificates of intellectual property rights protection to developers of new varieties of plants that are reproduced sexually by seed or are tuber-propagated.

This protection enables the breeder to market the variety exclusively for a fixed time period and, in doing so, creates an incentive for investment in the development for new plant varieties. USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service monitors operation of the Board.