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Plant Breeding: An in-demand career option you may not have considered

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:56 am
by Dave Jensen
See the interesting video below -- I can agree with the producers of this film that this is a very solid career choice with many challenges and the opportunity (as exciting as the moon shot decades ago) to feed nearly 10 Billion people in just a few years.

Dave Jensen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HC73GnKFGt0

Re: Plant Breeding: An in-demand career option you may not have considered

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 4:46 am
by D.X.
No one commented here - so I'll give my two Cents.

If I went back in time and to decide on doing a PhD again - first I wouldn't. Second if I did, it would be in Agriculture.

When I was home in the US I use to watch RFD-TV, a farming channel it was quite amazed of the high science surrounding farming - i'm talking Use of Satellites to map moister and Quality of soil as part of Routine farming with GPS automatic driven tractors and Computer controlled Irrigation and fertizlier Systems etc. etc.

There was a Show called Ag PhD - its a commerical Show but nonetheless hosted by two Ag business guys - its has a high science component to it as was among the first Shows that opened my mind to Agriculture and th amount of science behind it - especially plant breeding. I think the Hosts own a seed Company. Away it a spot to get some insight i think.

To Dave's Point some good and potentially sustainable careers here.

Good luck -

Wishing I was driving a John Deer now on a my own farm.

DX

Re: Plant Breeding: An in-demand career option you may not have considered

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 9:40 am
by ATG
I work in a plant breeding company (though I am not a plant breeder myself) and I would agree with Dave that this is a very interesting and rewarding field to work in.

A few thoughts for those who might be interested in exploring further:

1. Unfortunately, public plant breeding and ag research in general is very underfunded. (https://www.dtnpf.com/agriculture/web/a ... search-new) I personally hope this will change but I'm not holding my breath. That said, industry is a great place to work. While I happen to work for "big ag", there are many small seed companies, so there's variety.

2. While very high tech (as DX points out) and certainly rewarding, I think its useful to point out that plant breeders need a certain degree of determination and patience. No matter what, you're bound by the breeding cycle of the crop. While results are faster with annuals than breeding trees...you still have to wait a rather long time to see results, compared to yeast or rats. Advances in biology and technology have helped speed up research, but ultimately, new plant varieties need to be tested in the field, under multiple years, in multiple environments, so breeders need to be okay with delayed gratification.

Some suggestions for further reading:

1. For general background, I really enjoyed Noel Kingsbury's "Hybrid: The History and Science of Plant Breeding"

2. A new booklet from VIB, "The past, present and future of plant breeding" is very nicely done, not too lengthy, and incorporates information about new breeding technologies (including CRISPR-Cas). http://www.vib.be/en/about-vib/plant-bi ... op_ENG.pdf

ATG

Re: Plant Breeding: An in-demand career option you may not have considered

PostPosted: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:46 am
by Dave Jensen
Thanks to you DX (like you, I'm a frustrated wanna be ag scientist!) and to ATG for the great comments on this thread.

Dave