b'CONTENT FROM SEED WORLD CANADAInternational PickEmbracing a Legacy, Leading with Vision Ensuring a Healthy Future for AsparagusSandeep RanaCindy RouetChesterfield, Miss. Simcoe, Ont.In just six years, Sandeep RanaCindy Rouets journey into the has garnered a variety of acco- world of plant breeding began lades, including the prestigiouswith a spark of curiosity. After Virginia Tech School of Planthigh school in her birth coun-& Environmental Sciencestry of France, she embarked Outstanding Alumni Award foron a path to addressing the 2023, Outstanding Industryglobal challenges of food Personnel Award from Weedsecurity. It was during this time Science Society of Americathat Rouets fascination with for 2023, Outstanding Youngplant breeding and genetics Scientist (2022) & Researchertook root.Award (2021) from SouthernHer journey led her and Northeastern Weedacross continents, from the Science Societies, respec- Netherlands to Canada, where tively, among numerous topSandeep Ranas leadershipshe pursued internships andDespite the distance from extends beyond his employerher family in France, Cindy performer awards within andresearch projects focused onRouet felt at home in Canada outside Bayer.Bayer, as evidenced by hisplant breeding. She studiedfocusing on her work.engagement in mentoring These accolades showstudents globally. in the Netherlands and then his burgeoning influence andstarted her research on rose breeding in Canada at Vineland leadership in the industry. Research and Innovation Centre, where she got her PhD in 2021.Hailing from the agricultural heartlands of northern India,At Fox Seeds, which has the exclusive rights to produce seed Ranas formative years were steeped in agricultural sciences. Hisfrom the asparagus hybrids developed by the breeding program journey in academia started with a bachelors degree, followedat the University of Guelph, Rouets leadership in the field has by a journey to the United States for his masters in weed sciencebecome evident as shes worked hard to modernize the com-at the University of Arkansas. It was during his PhD at Virginiapanys breeding pipeline to address the evolving needs of the Tech, focusing on turfgrass weed management, that he realizedindustry. For the past three years she has helped transition the the multifaceted nature of his field. universitys asparagus breeding program to Fox Seeds.He transitioned through roles in breeding and leadership atFor Rouet, now 31, the future of asparagus breeding lies in Monsanto, now Bayer, where he currently serves as the globalembracing innovation while staying true to the core principle of head of design and optimization.sustainability.When I joined Bayer, I was greatly supported and encour- Canadas asparagus industry is a small but growing sector of aged to explore outside my comfort zone, Rana explains. Thatsthe countrys vegetable production. Canada also imports and what has allowed me to evolve from a weed scientist to a leaderexports asparagus, mainly from and to the United States. in R&D, managing diverse teams across continents. As Rouet looks ahead, her vision for the industry is clear: Ranas global perspective, nurtured through his upbring- We must continue to inspire and nurture the next generation ing and experiences, has been pivotal in leading cross-culturalof plant scientists, she says. By fostering curiosity and provid-teams. My background has taught me to approach problemsing opportunities for growth, we can ensure a brighter future for with empathy and an open mind, Rana says.agriculture.Understanding different perspectives and adapting toHow does she help do this? By leveraging the resources Fox diverse work environments is crucial in a global role. Seeds has at its disposal.For budding professionals in the agricultural sector, RanaBeing so close to the University of Guelph has been incred-underscores the paramount significance of communication, big- ibly beneficial for us. Having been exposed to the program picture thinking, and decision-making as pivotal skills for success.during my time at Guelph, I understand the appeal it holds for Effective communication is key, Rana advises. Being ablestudents seeking a career in plant science. This proximity has to convey ideas clearly and adapt your communication style tonot only generated interest but also provided us with a pool of different audiences is essential, especially in a field as diverse andtechnically skilled applicants when filling positions. Weve been globalized as agriculture. fortunate to attract passionate individuals who are enthusiastic about contributing to our mission.60/ SEEDWORLD.COMINTERNATIONAL EDITION 2024'