Enjoy science and giving back? Try a career in agriculture
(NC) Nancy Tout has always had a passion for science and helping people. She took a general undergraduate degree in science and later went on to do a doctorate focused on medical research. But her journey ultimately landed her in agriculture where she has been able to apply her skills and help make a difference in the world.
As the head of research and development for a Canadian agribusiness, Tout's had the chance contribute to society in a way she never imagined. “The impact of what we do is actually quite simple, it is to bring safe, affordable and abundant food to a very growing and hungry population – and to do so in a very sustainable way,” she explains.
Tout leads a team of scientists in Canada who are part of a broader network of about 5,000 scientists around the world. Her team works on developing innovative pest control tools for farmers and improving seeds to help make farmers more productive and more sustainable.
“Some of the interesting projects that my team works on include moving beyond the traditional pest control methods for farmers and focusing on areas like how plants can withstand very cold temperatures and how our formulations can withstand really chilly temperatures in Canada.”
It takes interdisciplinary teams to come up with the solutions that will help farmers continue to feed the world in the face of some major challenges like climate change, a growing population and limited agricultural land.
As a result, the plant science industry offers careers for experts in all disciplines. Tout says her organization employs engineers, toxicologists, environmental chemists, pathologists, and plant breeders, to name just a few, that work together to develop the agricultural solutions of tomorrow.
Agriculture is among the most technologically advanced industries in the world. Pest control products, innovations in seed technology and leading-edge equipment are all part of the package that has enabled farmers to grow more food per acre of land than ever before.
For Tout, being a part of that solution has made for a very fulfilling career: “What's most rewarding and what has kept me here for 16 years is the fact that we're giving back to society, feeding a hungry population, and what could be better than that,” says Tout.
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Nancy Tout found a fulfilling career in agricultural science.