Assistant Crop Breeder

  • Company: PepsiCo
  • Location: Rhinelander, Wisconsin
  • Posted: January 28, 2017
  • Reference ID: 111843BR
PepsiCo is a major food enterprise sourcing a variety of raw materials of agricultural origin such as tuber, grain, and fruit & vegetable crops around the world. A creative, results-oriented assistant breeder is required to execute breeding activities primarily across potatoes and oat, with potential expansion to other crops at a PepsiCo breeding facility in Rhinelander, WI.
This assistant crop breeder is responsible for implementing and evaluating new phenotyping platforms within breeding programs to drive the improvement of raw agriculture materials important to PepsiCo. This position will also work closely with existing assistant breeders to executing breeding operations as set by the manager, but is also expected to make independent decisions in order to meet project objectives. Phenotying activities and breeding operations are in greenhouses, large walk-in growth chambers, fields, seed storage units, and occasionally wet labs.
The position sits in the Agro Discovery Research function within Nutrition R&D. This position is located at the PepsiCo research facility in Rhinelander, WI and will report to the Potato Improvement Lead, also located there.

Job Description:
  • Work with the crop improvement leads, phenotyping and crop analytics lead, and other assistant breeders to develop, implement, test, and evaluate new high-throughput and/or high-precision phenotyping methods in the greenhouse, growth chamber, and field.
  • Work with other assistant breeders to plant, grow, monitor, pollinate, harvest, and collect data on plants, plots, and trials.
  • Enter phenotypic data collected to PepsiCo's databases, ensuring data accuracy and timeliness.
  • Work with the other assistant breeders and crew for execution of breeding trials, growing plants, and maintaining or upgrading facilities and equipment.
  • Monitor, troubleshoot, and promptly report challenges with breeding operations while proactively identifying potential solutions.
  • Continuously identify opportunities for improving efficiency and quality of operations.
  • Adopt newer and most efficient technologies and techniques, with emphasis on novel phenotyping techniques. Manage or coordinate assigned farm workers for specific operations or lengths of time.
  • Comply with local HSE requirements for the prevention of incidents, incident reporting, and remedial actions.
  • Adapt to unexpected delays and changes in workflows to maintain overall productivity.


  • Associates degree plus 4+ years of lab experience or equivalent combination of education/experience required; BS or MS preferred, in Plant Breeding, Horticulture, Agronomy, Biological Systems Engineering, or related discipline. Relevant experience in active breeding/genetics programs is preferred, but all qualified applicants will be considered.
  • Experience transferring novel technologies into existing operations to drive the efficiency and effectiveness of the system; specific experience implementing novel phenotyping techniques into breeding operations is preferred, but all relevant experience will be considered.
  • Attention to details and accurate record keeping.
  • Demonstrated experience in collecting data from plants and curating them for consistency and quality prior to uploading to databases required.
  • Demonstrated ability to manage activities within assigned resources/budgets.
  • Can quickly separate the mission-critical from the nice to dos and the trivial; quickly senses what's the next most useful thing to work on; focuses on the critical few tasks that really add value and puts aside or delays the rest.
  • Excellent communication and networking ability with the PepsiCo team.
  • Excellent ability to utilize basic software and communication technologies such as Word, Excel, Power Point, Webex, Outlook, etc., and to input or query data from relational databases. Experience with programming languages (MatLab, Java, Python, Perl, R) and image analysis software (ImageJ) is preferred.
  • Demonstrated ability, willingness, and interest to coach and mentor others to equip them with skills needed to execute activities up to the expected quality and quantity standards.
  • A proven ability to work closely with colleagues on activities with a high degree of flexibility and comfort with change.
  • Ability to balance need to deliver on time, on target, within resources, and with expected quality and quantity.
  • Requirements
  • This position will be based in Rhinelander, WI and must be willing to travel occasionally to off-site experiment locations or to the main team site in St. Paul, MN.
  • Must be willing to travel 10-15% of the time primarily in North America, by land or air.
  • Must be willing to flex work schedule to accommodate video and phone conferences across multiple time-zones.
  • Must be able to operate in hot and wet/dry environments such as greenhouses and walk-in growth chambers, to work with plants, soil, and agricultural/science equipment, and safely lift up to 50 LBS of weight.

Relocation Eligible

Not Eligible for Relocation

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