A rewarding part of my job is creating new plant populations that ultimately produce a better, strong forage. For example, we work to develop plants that are more drought tolerant. I enjoy going through the experimental process and being able to work with different groups to achieve a common goal.
The information gained and new, improved plant varieties produced can significantly impact agriculture and benefit beef cattle producers who will use them.
For me, it’s wonderful to be part of a team that develops and implements software that helps us look through tons of business and scientific data. This enables us to help beef cattle producers make better decisions.
More than ever, agriculture relies heavily upon technology to thrive. Exploring new technologies can help us stay on the cutting edge of technology and, in turn, pass our research and information on to producers.
I look at plant genomic sequences to discover novel genes that control important traits such as drought resistance or ability to efficiently use nitrogen and phosphorus from the soil. It is really interesting to explore the ocean of data and find its biological meaning.
Discovering novel genes and understanding their roles in regulating important traits will accelerate plant breeding.
I enjoy collaborating with a multidisciplinary team to develop on-farm studies that generate critical data for alternative production systems, practices and technologies. I evaluate this data to determine whether or not these production systems and management practices have more economical potential for producers than the systems they currently use.
My research program ultimately helps beef cattle producers improve their ability to make better decisions and be more economically sustainable. It also provides economic input and perspective to the organization so that we’re able to focus our resources on projects that are most suited to helping land stewards.
My favorite part is thinking about new solutions to problems that impact agriculture. I’m interested in uncovering the genetic basis of why different varieties of the same crop species vary in biomass quality, such as protein and digestibility as a forage, or drought tolerance.
The knowledge obtained from my studies will assist in breeding better or more stress-resilient crops.