The University of California, Davis, and the California Strawberry Commission (CSC) have issued a joint press release announcing the settlement of CSC’s lawsuit and the university’s countersuit. CSC initially alleged that the university allowed two of its strawberry developers to leave its employment to privatize the cultivation process using money provided by CSC growers, and the university filed a counterclaim accusing CSC of unfair business practices. Conclusion of the lawsuit coincided with the university’s hiring of Steven Knapp, former global director of Monsanto’s Vegetable Research and Development, who will oversee the university’s new strawberry breeding program.
“Over the next five years, UC Davis will release new strawberry varieties available to all farmers, and the California Strawberry Commission will assist UC Davis in its identification of new commercial varieties,” the press release states. In addition, “a new strawberry advisory committee will be formed, comprised of university representatives, strawberry farmers and commission representatives.” Additional details about the lawsuit appear in Issue 522 of this Update. See UC Davis and California Strawberry Commission Press Release, February 9, 2015.