Seed World

You Can Help Bolster Vegetable Breeding by Mentoring Young Plant Breeders

Vegetable breeding is a profession that faces some unique challenges, not the least of which is recruiting talent. That’s according to J.D. Rossouw, head of vegetables research and development for Bayer Crop Science based in St. Louis, MO.

“When you look at what Bayer does, our breeders are really tackling some significant challenges that affect the entire world. [Being a breeder for Bayer is] truly a global career. We need to find people willing to collaborate across time zones, regions and cultures, who are able to work as part of a global team,” he says.

“Part of that is making sure we introduce students and potential future employees to the skills and talents we need today, but also over the next few years to really drive the innovation engine within the plant breeding and plant sciences space.”

Part of doing that is Bayer’s sponsorship of the Borlaug Scholars program. The Borlaug scholarship program strengthens the plant breeding profession by helping support attendance of future leaders at the National Association of Plant Breeders (NAPB) annual meeting.

Natalie Kaiser is a Borlaug scholar and works with Rossouw as Bayer’s pepper line development breeder based in Woodland, CA. She works on developing parental lines that will go into constituting hybrid pepper products. According to Kaiser, being a Borlaug scholar helped facilitate her career in pepper breeding at Bayer after working on her graduate degree at Michigan State University.

As a Borlaug scholar she got to network with people working in the industry and was paired with a mentor who helped her explore her career options and learn more about areas of the industry she wanted to get involved in.

“I was very appreciative of how open individuals were about sharing their experience and really supporting the younger generation and equipping them to acquire those skills — both technical skills as well as skills that are critical for excelling in any profession, but particularly within plant breeding in industry,” Kaiser says.

Listen to our full interview with Rossouw and Kaiser above and hear them talk about the Borlaug scholarship, its value and why your organization should think about sponsorship.

For info on the Borlaug Scholars program visit the NAPB website.

For more info visit:

You Can Help Open up New Opportunities in Soybean and Beyond

Why Mentoring the Young Stars of Plant Science is About More Than Just Plant Breeding

Get Involved in Mentoring the Next Generation of Plant Breeders