Plant Breeder

Plant Breeder

Plant breeders study seed characteristics and work to improve those characteristics that are most desirable for a plant, such as yield, size, quality, maturity, and resistance to frost, drought, disease and insect pests. A plant breeder will rely heavily on their knowledge of genetics, statistics, molecular technologies and plant growth to develop plants that are best for crossing.
What Responsibilities Will I Have?: 
  • Develop and manage a plant breeding program
  • Maintain links between the company and technology support providers
  • Maintain and forecast a budget for breeding activities
  • Interact technically with marketers and end-users of the company’s products
  • Interact technically with relevant authorities and institutions
  • Develop a plant breeding team succession plan
  • Supervise a plant breeding team
  • Develop and maintain key industry links
  • Undertake required support of the production of seed and/or crops
  • Utilize new technologies such as a Global Positioning System (GPS)
Recommended High School Courses: 
The following high school courses are recommended: agricultural education, mathematics, business, computer science, biology, chemistry and physics.
Education/Training Required: 
A bachelor’s degree in crop science, plant genetics or agronomy is required. In many cases a Ph.D. or Master of Science in plant science is required. Practical and applied research is needed in this field of work; participate on campus in labs and research trials when possible.
Future Job Market Outlook: 
Typical Employers: 
Plant breeders are typically employed by seed and biotechnology companies, government or universities and cooperatives.
Suggested Professional Organizations and Associations: 
  • Soil Science Society of America
  • National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants
  • American Society of Agronomy
  • Committee for Sustainable Agriculture
  • Crop Science Society of America
  • Weed Science Society of America
  • American Farm Bureau Federation
  • National Farmers Organization 
Average Annual Full-Time Salary: 
$73,076
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Salary data is provided by the AgCareers.com Compensation Benchmark Review™. These salaries should be considered as examples and are provided for educational and exploratory purposes. The salary information provided should not be used as a benchmark. Actual salaries are influenced by numerous variables including but not limited to demographics, size and scope of the role, level of experience, qualifications, and education of the worker.