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Kappel takes charge

Well-known researcher aims to instill stability in Summerland Varieties Corporation as its latest generalmanager.

By Susan McIver F

rank Kappel has been named general manager of the Summerland Varieties

Corporation. He had served as interim general manager for six months prior to his appointment, which took effect last November.

“One of the reasons I agreed to stay on was to provide stability for at least two years,” said Kappel, who is the third person appointed to the position since summer 2013.

In addition to his people skills, Kappel brings a broad national perspective, an international reputation as a scientist and a long association with SVC to his new position. Raised on a fruit farm in Niagara-on- the-Lake, Ontario, Kappel earned a PhD in horticultural science from the University of Guelph. He worked as an extension horticulturist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and as a research scientist on a pear breeding project for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Harrow, Ontario. Subsequently, Kappel was lead scientist on the sweet cherry breeding program at the Pacific Agri-Food Research Centre in Summerland, which released a number of successful cultivars.

He was appointed to the SVC board in 2014 following his retirement from PARC.

“I’ve been involved with SVC as a plant breeder since its inception in 1993. It’s a new and interesting experience to be on this side of the corporation,” Kappel said. Owned by the B.C. Fruit Growers’ Association, SVC commercializes fruit varieties, both domestically and internationally, by managing intellectual property rights and


Frank Kappel brings a broad national perspective, an international reputation as a scientist and a long association with SVC to his new position.

supporting product development and testing.

SVC also operates a virus-free budwood orchard and provides extension services such as free advice and on-site pruning demonstrations to help growers realize greater returns. Kappel knows many people in the fruit industry, especially those involved with cherries, and he is busy becoming acquainted with players in the apple sector.

His new position gives Kappel the opportunity to see first-hand the worldwide success of fruit varieties developed through the breeding programs at PARC (now known as the Summerland Research and Development Centre).

SVC is an agent for some of the most successful and promising varieties in the world, such as Staccato and Sentennial cherries and Ambrosia and Salish apples.

Comparing his duties as general British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Spring 2016

manager to those as a scientist, Kappel said, “Here it’s business. We’re interested in growers making money.” Helping growers understand the role of SVC is high on Kappel’s priority list. “The future of new varieties is likely to be in the form of ‘club varieties’, for lack of a better term,” he said. In general, the ‘club’ concept involves royalties and limited plantings. SVC is currently auditing plantings of cherry and apple trees that are licensed to the corporation and protected by plant breeders’ rights agreements. “There appears to be some misunderstanding among growers about the royalties due on Ambrosia apples,” Kappel said.

Although the breeders’ rights agreement expired in August 2015, royalties are still due on any trees propagated before that time even though they may not have been sold or planted.

“We will be working with growers to 15

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