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A new company has been formed by a group of New York apple growers to grow, pack, market and sell new advanced apple selections developed by the apple breeding program at Cornell University.

NYAG LLC was formed in March and has recently submitted a business plan to Cornell, whose apple breeding program is led by Susan Brown at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.

Managed fruit varieties are starting to dominate the introduction of new cultivars by plant breeders around the world. Cornell University is ready to release two new apple varieties and has been seeking a partner to team with to bring these new apples to the marketplace. Cornell, via an advisory council recommendation, will choose a partner to team with for exclusive rights contracts for new apple varieties. If NYAG LLC is the chosen partner, then contract negotiations with Cornell will commence in September.

Among the goals of NYAG LLC are: to introduce outstanding new apple cultivars to the marketplace; to allow any New York state apple grower the opportunity to become a member; to enhance New York state apple grower sustainability, growth, and long-term competitiveness; to secure exclusive variety contracts that allow its members and licensing partners to profit from the growing and selling of these varieties; and to invest funding directly to the Cornell apple breeding program to ensure continued variety improvement into the long-term future.

If NYAG LLC is chosen by Cornell as the licensing partner, then NYAG LLC will begin a grower-communication program that will include both written and oral presentations to the state's apple grower community. NYAG will discuss the business plan, expansion of the grower board and how any grower can join the corporation through an investment.

"There will be opportunities for all growers, from small farm marketers to large commercial wholesalers, to join and the initial investment required will correlate to the size of your business," Roger Lamont, chairman of NYAG LLC, said in a press release.

In addition to Mr. Lamont, the NYAG board is comprised of Jeff Crist, vice chairman; Walt Blackler, treasurer; Bob Norris, secretary; and Mason Forrence, member relations.