Fruit & Vegetable Magazine

Features Fruit Production
Cornell, NY apple group forge agreement


May 19, 2010
By Fruit & Vegetable

Topics

May 6, 2010, Ithaca, NY —
Cornell University has forged a licensing agreement with a new apple industry
group – the New York State Apple Growers LLC (NYAG) – to grow and market two
new, patented premium apple varieties.



May 6, 2010, Ithaca, NY —
Cornell University has forged a licensing agreement with a new apple industry
group – the New York State Apple Growers LLC (NYAG) – to grow and market two
new, patented premium apple varieties.

Susan Brown, Cornell
professor of horticultural at Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment
Station
in Geneva, N.Y., developed the new varieties. The new varieties are
Cornell’s 65th and 66th apple-variety releases.

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Cornell will trademark them
with input from NYAG to ensure proper branding, as they have been under
development for some 14 years. Their formal names will be announced in the
fall.

Both are crisp and firm.
The juicy snap of New York 1 (a placeholder name for the patent) recalls its
Honeycrisp parent, but the trees produce more reliably and the fruit stores
well. Sweet and tart New York 2 is suited for baking and fresh use, and boasts
the added benefit of higher levels of vitamin C, according to Brown.

The new agreement is a
first for Cornell’s apple-breeding program, which in the past has publicly
released all new varieties to nurseries and growers and has only recovered
limited tree royalties.

A new distribution model –
called a “managed release” – is becoming the norm for university breeding
programs to advance the interests of the communities they serve.

Commercialization of new
varieties can be challenging in a marketplace dominated by large grocery chains
populated by brand savvy consumers. It can take 20 years to successfully
commercialize a new type of apple, says Brown. By coordinating the supply and
marketing, the managed release agreement will reduce that time by half. And, by
receiving some of the return on investment, Cornell’s College of Agriculture
and Life Sciences
can support its breeding program.

All of the nearly 600
apple growers in New York state will have the opportunity to join NYAG this
year. Broad participation from growers is key to commercial success because,
although large wholesale growers ultimately supply supermarkets, the farm
stands of smaller producers play a significant role in introducing new
varieties to consumers.

Growers will pay royalties
on trees purchased, acreage planted and fruit produced. NYAG will pay licensing
royalties to Cornell, determine the total statewide acreage for the new
varieties, ensure quality standards at harvest and use a portion of the income
generated from members to market the apples as well as some to directly fund
the Cornell apple breeding program. For growers, planting new varieties is
always a high-risk, potentially high-return venture. The managed variety system
buffers the risk by addressing the biggest commercial hurdles – marketing and
distribution.