Juan Manuel out in the fields.
Juan Manuel out in the fields.

Education:
Ph.D. – Horticulture, University of Wisconsin
M.S. – Horticulture, University of Wisconsin
M.A. – Development, University of Wisconsin
B.S. – Agronomy, Instituto Technologico de Sonora

Years of Service at Sakata: 2004 to Present

Currently Breeding: Hot Peppers, Tomato, Tomatillo

Juan Manuel, what contributed to your decision to become a vegetable breeder?

I grew up in a farm surrounded by an agriculture environment, greatly dominated by tomato and pepper production, so it was very straight forward as to what area I wanted to be focused in. I became interested in plant breeding during my early college years and even more once I started grad school. Perhaps the main reason I decided to become a plant breeder was that I had personal experience in dealing with the devastating effects of pests and diseases on crops that farmers go thru from time to time. Therefore, there is a great need to provide new solutions constantly.

What inspires you? Or what’s the best part of your job?

I think the fact that plant breeding is an applied science where one can contribute to solve problems that result in direct benefits for growers is one of the most dominant factors that inspire us. This is a day-by-day effort with new challenges every time. It is a fascinating world of knowledge in which we work, full of challenges that never end. Getting to know other scientists on common ground and working together to attain the final goal, is one of the best parts of my job.

Recently Sakata Seed America celebrated its 40th Anniversary – do you have anything special you’d like to say about Sakata?

I am very grateful to Sakata because it has given me the opportunity to develop my knowledge and professional experience. The best part of this company is the wonderful group of experienced people that compound it.

Briefly, can you tell us something that not everyone knows about you!

I really enjoy my job, that I don’t picture myself doing anything else…