Breeder Nick Dragoescu evaluating small plots during the winter trials in Salinas.
Breeder Nick Dragoescu evaluating small plots during the winter trials in Salinas.

Education:

Ph.D. – Genetics and Plant Breeding, Penn State University

Years of Service at Sakata: 1991 to Present

Currently Breeding: Carrot and Squash

 Nick, when did your passion for breeding start?

I grew up on a farm helping my grandfather with amateur field-corn breeding. I chose to study agriculture in college and got a summer internship assisting a wheat breeder with biometric data collection. Those early experiences solidified my interest in plant breeding and upon graduation, I looked for jobs as a vegetable breeder.

What’s the best part of your job?

The best part of being a breeder is that the end result – a better vegetable – is needed and appreciated by people everywhere. Making improvements to a vegetable is a process that has utility and meaning that extends to consumers everywhere. It gives me great satisfaction to think of people enjoying healthy, delicious nutrition thanks to my work.

Recently Sakata celebrated 40 years of business in NAFTA – Do you have anything special you’d like to say about Sakata?

I consider myself very fortunate to work for a company with such a strong commitment to research and innovation. Sakata is always looking for ways to develop and deliver outstanding vegetable varieties to growers worldwide.