Seed World

In Today’s World, Highlighting Aspiring Plant Breeders is Imperative

On June 12 at the American Seed Trade Association’s (ASTA) Leadership Summit in Sacramento, Jovan Djordjevic, director of education at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) Plant Breeding Academy, awarded Ellen Evans the Outstanding Student Award for her hard work during her two years at the academy.

As we continue forward as an industry, one thing’s certain: highlighting and cultivating aspiring plant breeders is still an important endeavor.

“It’s still difficult to hire a plant breeder these days,” Djordjevic says. “Not only do we need to generate the future generation of breeders, but we also need to make sure current breeders are up to date because things are evolving.”

For Evans, an associate breeder of cucumber at HM.Clause Vegetable Seeds, she aspires to take the knowledge she’s learned to become a fulltime breeder at HM.Clause.

“I’m most excited to take the things I’ve learned and see how we can improve the program,” Evans says, noting within the next few months, she hopes to unpack what she learned and start strategizing how to implement it to her cucumber breeding programs. 

And, for those wondering on whether they should take the leap into the academy, Evans has some advice.

“If you’re already a breeder, you can still come to this academy and learn new things — the latest new techniques and new innovations happening in the industry. If you’re someone in a company who works with breeders and wants to understand what they do better, it will benefit your career to understand how your company is handling its breeding pipeline,” Evans says. “You’re going to do your job so much better and understand what you’re doing.”

Make sure to listen to the full podcast above.