En­joy sci­ence and giv­ing back? Try a ca­reer in agri­cul­ture

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

(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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Photos cour­tesy

Nancy Tout found a ful­fill­ing ca­reer in agri­cul­tural sci­ence.

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