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Senator Roberts: Protection of Intellectual Property Critical to Rural Economy, Job Creation

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Location: Washington, DC

Senator Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) today said the protection of intellectual property is key to rural economies, with intellectual property (IP) intensive industries at the forefront of economic growth.

"When you think of Kansas, intellectual property may not automatically come to mind, but in the Heartland of America, IP is a key component of our daily bread," said Roberts. "The fact that U.S. Ag exports continue to set records year after year and we remain the world's largest exporting country speaks to the fact that we play a huge role in feeding and clothing a troubled and hungry world."

Sen. Roberts joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) today in unveiling a 2012 state IP jobs study, by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center, entitled IP Creates Jobs for America. It provides state-by-state fact sheets and data on employment, exports, output, and wages supplied by some of America's most innovative and creative industries.

The study shows that IP-related jobs pay 35% higher wages than non-IP jobs and supports more than 600,000 jobs in Kansas, which is half of all the private sector jobs there.

The following is the full text of Sen. Roberts' prepared remarks:

First, I'd like to thank the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Global Intellectual Property Center for the hard work that went into putting together this study.

Just looking at the numbers for Kansas, the figures are impressive.

IP supports over 600,000 jobs -- or 50% of private sector jobs in Kansas.

Further, IP-intensive companies in Kansas pay 35% higher wages than non-IP companies.

Finally, IP related exports make up $8.6 billion of Kansas's $11.5 billion in exports last year - nearly 75% of all 2011 exports.

When you think of Kansas, intellectual property may not automatically come to mind. But, in the Heartland of America, IP is a key component of our daily bread.

Twenty-first century, production agriculture is built on the foundation of intellectual property.

The United States is the largest producer of Ag products in terms of both volume and value, bar none.

Gone are the days when a farmer drilled only one variety of seed and hoped for the best that Mother Nature could offer.

The Green Revolution, a product of giant technological advances in Ag production, laid the foundation for what is now modern agriculture.

In both what is grown and how it is grown, the United States blazes a wide path for the world to follow. Our farmers are world class producers able to compete in the competitive world market.

Let me give you some examples of how Aggies have harnessed the benefits of technology.

Precision agriculture is the concept of adjusting production inputs and practices based on in-field variability and known needs through the use of site-specific information and precision technologies. Precision agriculture results in higher yields and protects valuable limited resources.

But what does that really mean? It means that with the use of satellites that beam information down to a receiver in the tractor, a producer can adjust the depth and spacing of how a seed is planted based on the unique characteristics and past production history of that specific field.

The same goes for irrigation. By using technological advances in agriculture, farmers can bury the irrigation lines below the soil surface at the depth for the plant roots to gain optimal efficiency compared to better known methods of above ground irrigation systems.

Similarly, the advances in the seed technology realm expand opportunities for farmers. Weed resistant, drought resistant, and varying growing length seed varieties allow for farmers to plant the optimal crop to suit the specific challenges of a field, growing region, or moisture conditions.

These types of advances help U.S. farmers use less resources and lower the cost of production to allow them to be the best stewards of our crop land.

The fact that U.S. Ag exports continue to set records year after year and we remain the world's largest exporting country speaks to the fact that we play a huge role in feeding and clothing a troubled and hungry world.

So, it is in our strong interest to protect and nurture this type of innovation. We must protect the innovator and their ideas from those who would steal or hijack that information and use it for their own advantage.

Failure to adequately protect innovation is a long term drain on our economy and erodes our ability to compete.

The United States leads the world in innovation. We have the competitive advantage and we must nurture and protect the environment that yields the next great idea.

Thanks again for the opportunity to share with you today.


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