The long view on genetic progress

One of the major pitfalls in breeding programs is allowing your genetic base to become too narrow. Over time, a breeding program tends to focus on the most advanced and productive lines, while ignoring those that are further from commercial quality. It can be productive in the short run to have this focus, but in the long run it results in the limitation of further genetic progress. 

For this reason, I have been somewhat surprised by the rules established in Oregon and Washington that will make each state into genetic 'islands'. The rules state that after a short introductory window, all seeds and clones must be purchased from other producers within the state. I understand the motivation behind this (a conservative interpretation of the Cole memo), but if the rules remain the same for more than a few years, it will create a problem for growers:

As new, improved varieties are developed outside their home state, they will be faced with either becoming noncompetitive, or breaking the established rules to acquire new varieties. I don't like to see non-sustainable systems created. 

If we are lucky, within a few years legalized states will be able to initiate reciprocity agreements that will allow, at a minimum, the exchange of breeding material. 

As for NBS, we are collecting as much germplasm as we can for our breeding program. We will maintain as much of it as possible, to ensure that we have the ability to continue making genetic progress for many years to come.