University of Arkansas Agri Division Inventions Generate Revenue

by Marty Cook  on Monday, Nov. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

So when Clark acts excited about his newest creation, PrimeArk Freedom, well that’s something. It’s a thornless, multi-blooming blackberry plant that just hit the market, and Clark expects it to be his most successful creation yet, which again is something since his previous plants have brought in nearly $1 million to his program.

He found the plant he named Freedom — “freedom from thorns,” Clark explained — among 309 candidates when he mated two blackberry plants to create a thornless one. He is already fielding orders through email from big and small growers interested in his latest plant.

“You develop things, and they need to be used,” Clark said. “The main thing is food supply and growers making money. We have to find some way to create revenue. You can’t work on something that has no support.”

Clark said his program costs hundreds of thousands of dollars annually and the revenue from royalties helps fund his department’s work. Like Hargis, Clark has a big enough reputation in his field that the private sector would welcome him, but he’s at home walking the rows on a farm, looking for the next blackberry bush to take to market.

“You ask me what I am working on?” Clark said. “Making this one a whole lot better.”



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