Seed Central
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- shadowing days
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Student program


Register to attend a field trip: Kathy Esparza, klesparza@ucdavis.edu


11 October 2018 Sakata Seed America
Woodland, California

Sakata is a world leader in breeding and producing vegetable and ornamental seed and vegetative cuttings. Sakata breeders around the world work diligently to develop varieties that offer superior performance and set new standards for the industry.

16 May 2018
3:00 PM
Nunhems USA Inc.
, California

Under the Nunhems brand, Bayer offers expert advice and high-quality seed varieties of about 25 vegetable crops. With more than 2,000 employees, we are present in all major vegetable production areas around the globe. We are dedicated to producing market-oriented varieties and seed products, and more than just that. We are oriented towards customers, and towards sharing value-added genetics, services and expertise to help them succeed.




16 November 2017


Full Belly Farm owners:
Andrew Brait, Judith Redmond, Paul Muller, and Dru Rivers

Full Belly Farm
Guinda, California

Full Belly Farm is a certified organic farm located in the beautiful Capay Valley of northern California. We are committed to fostering sustainability on all levels, from fertility in our soil and care for the environment, to stable employment for our farm workers. We strive to be good stewards of this farm, so that this generation and future generations may continue to be nourished by the healthy and vibrant food that we produce. Our farm has been certified organic since 1985, and we strive to continue to support local food systems and create a strong local food economy.


19 October 2017

McClellan Nuclear Research Center - McClellan, California

The nuclear research reactor at the McClellan Nuclear Research Center (MNRC) was commissioned under the United States Air Force in 1990, making it one of the newest research reactors in the US. It is the highest power TRIGA™ (Training, Research, and Isotope Production General Atomics) reactor in the United States, rated at 2 MW in steady state with the capability to pulse to approximately 400 MW for 30 msec. By design and construction TRIGA™ reactors are 'fail-safe' in the sense that the fuel itself is designed to shut down the nuclear reactions if the temperature increases beyond the operation limits.

Neutron Radiography

Similar to x-ray radiography, neutron radiography is a very efficient tool to enhance investigations in the field of non-destructive testing (NDT) as well as in many fundamental research applications. Neutron radiography is, however, suitable for a number of tasks impossible for conventional x-ray radiography. The advantage of neutrons compared to x-rays is the ability to image light elements (i.e. with low atomic numbers) such as hydrogen, water, carbon etc. In addition, neutrons penetrate heavy elements (i.e. with high atomic numbers) such as lead, titanium etc. allowing the study of materials in complex sample environments, for example water accumulation in hydrogen fuel cells: see Fig. 1. Because neutrons interact with the nucleus rather than with the electron shell, they can also distinguish between different isotopes of the same element. This makes neutron radiography an important tool in various research applications and in the field of NDT. The MNRC high neutron intensity beams permit short exposure times, high spatial resolution and high sample throughput.

Plant Seed Mutagenesis

Plant seed mutagenesis is used to investigate gene expression by altering the seed's DNA. Fast neutron irradiation has been proven to be the most effective method to alter DNA irreparably. Several seed species and varieties have been successfully irradiated at MNRC. These include Arabidopsis thaliana, Nicotiana benthamiana, soy beans, cucumber seeds and more.

28 September 2017

VoloAgri Group - Woodland, California

VoloAgri® is a vegetable seed technology and breeding company dedicated to Cultivating Global Health. We take pride in serving every customer with customized vegetable seed and technical service solutions they can count on. Our innovative seeds produce plants with increased yields, improved disease resistance, and post-harvest processing advantages while still achieving exceptional taste.

Our diverse team of industry experts are efficiently stationed at vegetable seed epicenters around the world. VoloAgri Global Corporate Headquarters are in South San Francisco, California with our principal Operational Centers in San Luis Obispo, California and Naaldwijk, The Netherlands. Additional facilities are located in Mexico, Turkey, Spain and Lebanon; and 15 trial stations are spread throughout California, Florida, Idaho, Mexico, Brazil, Lebanon, Turkey, China, Thailand, Holland, Italy and Spain. Our prized collection of seeds have been developed under several brands including US Agriseeds, Axia, Greenport Seeds, California Hybrids, Catalyst Seeds, New World Seeds, and Zayintec.

20 April 2017

Marrone Bio Innovations - Davis, CA

Marrone Bio Innovations:
Pioneering Better Biopesticides for a Better Tomorrow

The world population is soaring and consumers are increasingly concerned about the environment, their health, food safety, and ongoing access to clean water. Now, more than ever, our world needs effective, sustainable pest management solutions that are safe for people and protect our natural resources. At Marrone Bio Innovations we understand these challenges and are dedicated to delivering high-performing, bio-based solutions that address these daunting global issues.

As experts at discovering, developing, and commercializing naturally derived technologies, we have created an industry-leading platform of pest management and plant health products that are used in agricultural, turf and ornamental, and water treatment applications. Our solutions help customers around the globe control pests, improve plant health, and increase crop yields while reducing the environmental pesticide load, decreasing chemical residues on food, and fighting the development of pest resistance.

Continuous innovation is at our core and has enabled us not only to commercialize multiple product lines, but also to generate a deep pipeline of advanced and early-stage products that include nematicides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and plant health candidates. In addition, we have developed a robust patent portfolio and have amassed a library of more than 18,000 microorganisms and hundreds of plant extracts that have been screened for pipeline candidates.

We are proud to be industry pioneers and are committed to promoting a better tomorrow with bio-based pest management and plant health solutions that are effective, efficient, and environmentally responsible.





25 February 2016

Arcadia Bioscience - Davis, CA

Arcadia Biosciences develops and commercializes agricultural traits and products
that bring value to growers, processors and consumers while benefitting the environment and enhancing human health. Using a variety of advanced screening, breeding and biotechnology techniques, Arcadia has created a diverse portfolio of late-stage traits across multiple crops.



28 January 2016

Bayer CropScience - West Sacramento, CA

The Sacramento area site is the global headquarters of Bayer CropScience’s Biologics group, focused on innovative biological pest management solutions. The site houses Bayer CropScience’s center of excellence for research and development in this area, making Bayer a leading company for research, development and production of microbial-based crop protection products. Products originating from the Biologics team include Serenade Soil® fungicide, Ballad Plus® fungicide, Sonata® fungicide and Requiem® insecticide.

The region is also home to a team from Bayer CropScience Vegetable Seeds. At this site, researchers engage in integrated breeding, the cornerstone of the company’s commitment to solving challenges in vegetable crop improvement. This team collaborates closely with the scientific community at UC Davis, one of the world’s largest research centers in plant science. Research programs here are closely tied with the company’s breeding programs in other locations in California, Oregon and around the world.





22 October 2015

9:30 AM
Ag-Biotech, Inc. - Monterey, CA


Ag-Biotech founder and CEO, Dr. Mark Massoudi, at left

Ag-Biotech services:
- PCR-based marker systems for molecular breeding,
- marker-assisted selection (MAS),
- DNA marker-assisted backcrossing (MAB),
- DNA fingerprinting and intellectual rights protection,
- custom DNA marker development (DMD),
- hybrid and trait-purity analysis,
- genetic map construction.

2:00 PM
American Takii, Inc. - Salinas, CA

Our mission is to breed, develop and produce superior quality vegetable and flower varieties to meet the full potential of a dynamic market. American Takii, Inc. recognizes the importance of customer service and developing customer relations for a long-term partnership. We at American Takii Inc. are working diligently to uphold high quality standards and use innovative research to help you be successful.

Our host Steve Wiley, General Manager of American Takii, at far right

We sell only to select wholesale dealers and distributors in U.S.A., Canada, Central America and Mexico.
American Takii’s parent company, Takii & Company, LTD, is privately owned and has been based in Kyoto, Japan since 1835. We have had the same name, ownership and commitment to seed quality and research for over 175 years. Takii and company, LTD, is one of the world’s largest breeder/producers of vegetable and flower seeds and has breeding and experimental stations in Japan as well as international facilities located around the world including the United States, Holland, France, Chile, Thailand and China.

August 20, 2015

The Morning Star Company - Woodland, CA

Morning Star is the world's leading tomato ingredient processor, serving food processors throughout the world. Our operations are located at Williams and Los Banos, in the heart of California's tomato production areas.

The Morning Star Company was founded in 1970 by Chris Rufer as a one truck owner operator, hauling tomatoes to other canneries. Today, Morning Star accounts for over 25% of the California processing tomato production, supplying 40% of the U.S. ingredient tomato paste and diced tomato markets, with industrial sales of approximately $350 million.

In 1982, Chris founded a tomato paste processing plant with three grower investors, and originated and implemented two important innovations in the tomato industry; namely, (1) the dedicated production and marketing of industrial tomato paste and (2) the marketing of tomato paste in the "300 gallon bag-in-box." As tomato paste requirements grew The Morning Star Packing Company-Los Banos was founded and built in 1990. Through innovative thinking, common sense, and experience we improved the quality and lowered our cost of producing tomato paste. This facility processes approximately 530 tons of tomatoes (180,000 pounds of tomato paste) per hour.

In 1995, The Morning Star Packing Company-Williams was built. The Williams facility combines state of the art technology with economies of scale. This facility processes approximately 630 tons of tomatoes (200,000 pounds of tomato paste) per hour, making it the largest tomato processing facility in California. We also established the California Sun Harvesting Company (Cal-Sun) in a partnership with prominent tomato growers primarily to reduce the cost of tomato harvesting and create efficiencies in the harvesting, trucking and the processing of tomatoes.

In 2002, Morning Star founded Liberty Packing Company, Santa Nella. The original plant was built in 1975, but completely revamped in 2002. Liberty Packing does all the diced processing for Morning Star which has been doing bulk diced products since 1993.

At all Morning Star facilities, we emphasize innovative thought, and we strive to use available resources and technology to their fullest potential in order to continuously improve quality, productivity and service for our customer. As important as quality, service and price are, we know there is more. To remain competitive for the long term, we must be innovative. That is why we rigorously maintain our position as the major force developing and implementing new and improved technology in our industry.



May, 2015

Alforex Seeds - Woodland, CA

Alforex Seeds focuses on developing and delivering alfalfa and forage solutions that help hay, livestock and milk producers maximize the profitability of their operations. Through its affiliation with Dow AgroSciences, Alforex Seeds offers customers access to world-class systems, technologies and solutions.

Research Director John Reich presents alfalfa trials

Above: In the greenhouse
Below: Lunch with Managing Director Ron Cornish

  What some of the students reported:

I was particularly impressed with Jon Reich and his knowledge of alfalfa. The tour of the greenhouse, where he described the screening and selection methods for salt tolerance and fusarium resistance, was excellent and very informative. Seeing the field nursery and the phenotypic variation between clonal populations was also particularly interesting and highlighted the importance of visual selection in the breeding program. It is interesting to note that while Alforex is not developing transgenic forages, they must still screen for adventitious presence of transgenes in their seed-lots to maintain export standards. The testing for adventitious presence increases their cost of goods and is now part of the cost of doing business even though they do not participate in the transgenic market. All in all this was an excellent tour to a nice facility hosted by knowledgeable and passionate people. Thumbs up!

Eric Hoeft

Thank you for facilitating an opportunity for me to visit Alforex seed. I really enjoyed speaking with the representatives and learning about Alfalfa seed production. Specifically I learned about the breeding methods and population structures that Alforex employs to achieve their breeding goals. I am still a little hazy on the specifics they discussed about their use of male sterile plants, maintainer lines, and A/B parental lines in seed production, but will be doing research on my own to find some answers. I did receive a card from one of the representatives so I might email him. Thanks again, looking forward to future seed central events. Events like this one where we get to talk to someone involved in the companies breeding program is something I really appreciate.

Sultan Beardsley


April 2015

Muller Ranch - Woodland, CA

Muller Ranch, a farm located in Yolo County, California,
is a grower of processing tomatoes, specialty peppers, corn, wheat, canola, cucumbers, grapes, garlic, walnuts, almonds, sunflowers and other crops. Muller Ranch farms several thousand acres throughout Yolo County.


Frank Muller presents Muller Ranch to our group.

Pepper plant machine

Garlic field

  What some of the students reported:

Zach Quart

For me, the trip to the Muller Ranch was very enlightening. I have taken tours of vineyards and olive orchards in the past but I have never been to an industrial farm like Muller Ranch. I chose to go on this field trip because of my interest in food, food production, and growing. I am also a food science major so I found it necessary to understand what goes on at a farm on a daily basis. The organizers of this trip were successful in making sure that I learned this. I have a new appreciation of food production. Seeing the incredibly specialized and refined techniques that modern day farmer’s use was truly amazing. The tomato-harvesting machine really sticks out in my mind when I think about the trip to Muller Ranch. It amazed me that the machine could run with no people on it and could pick, sort, and deposit thousands of tomatoes in just minutes. Now when I go to the super market I have a better understanding of where the food I buy comes from and how it is harvested. Also, I was glad to learn about processing tomatoes from a man who runs a very successful farm. It was amazing to see his passion and it inspired me to search for something that I can be as excited about as well. Overall, I am very happy with my experience at Muller Ranch and am looking forward to more field trips this quarter. I am grateful for the work that each organizer put in to make sure we learned the most information possible. Going on this trip reinforced my decision in becoming a food science major and I now feel that I have a much clearer understanding of farming, harvesting, and food production.

Yufei Qian

During the field trip to Muller Ranch, I visited the pepper production area for our school and learned more about how high technology changes the agricultural process. This ranch uses really good sustainable idea to protect environment and rise up yield.
One thing I remembered is that drip irrigation is used widely in this farm. The system is 10 inch deep under the soil and only provide just right amount of water to plants. Also, the accuracy of planting guarantees the location of each crop so they could share water evenly. Therefore, this is a good way to not only safe water but also low down cost on production. I come from China, and this is a country really lack of water. However, agricultural water usage is always a huge portion in China. Among many fields, farmers still use the most traditional ways to irrigate. This may because of the large cost of building the drip irrigation system. Many places have steep attitude or on mountains. It is still a big waste of water every year. Some crops may get extra water they don’t need, and others may still feel thirsty. Water flows down the hill and wash soil surface away may cause some other problems. Thus, drip irrigation system is a really good solution for large area farming.
Also, high technology trucks help farmers harvest much faster than before. In the past time, people had to shake the pepper plants by hands so the production is very low. Now, the machine on the truck can finish that quickly and rise up the efficiency. It is also amazing that there are high technology can control the location of seeds in the field accurately. High technology really does a great job on sustainable farming.

February 2015

HM.Clause - Davis, CA

HM.CLAUSE specializes in the breeding, production and commercialization of vegetable seeds varieties for professional growers. We are 100% dedicated to vegetable seeds, HM.CLAUSE belongs to the top 5 vegetable seed entities in the world. With over 2,000 varieties in more than 20 vegetable crops, HM-CLAUSE provides innovative solutions to growers worldwide. HM.CLAUSE varieties are available in more than 100 countries thanks to 14 commercial subsidiaries and local sales networks. HM.CLAUSE is a business unit entity, which belongs to Limagrain, an international cooperative headquartered in France. If you are a qualified applicant interested in working in a fast-paced, culturally diverse team environment, we invite you to take a closer look at our job opportunities.



What some of the students said:
Yoomin Chae, Plant Science major

“This was eye-opening because I didn’t know that there were positions in the seed industry that don’t require a science background. The careers are much more diverse than just studying seeds or doing research.”

“It was a nice surprise to see that the company environment is so positive and friendly. The positive atmosphere I experienced today contradicted the image in my head of a massive building and a cold laboratory.”

Timothy Butterfield, Plant Biology graduate student

“The discussion about interactions with the growers, and the French growers who are on the board, gave me a better understanding of the company and the research horizon because of the way the company is organized.”

David O’Donnell, Genetics graduate student

“I’m trying to get a feel for what exactly the industry is, what is the company, what are the facets that we don’t really experience in academia…it was good to see that the company works in so many different zones and there is so much opportunity for travel and to experience many cultures. It would be useful to know what sort of skills the companies are looking for, what skills we should be developing, what laboratory or field techniques we should be learning in graduate school that would be directly translatable to a work environment.”

Kartik Singhal, Biotechnology major

“When I saw that HM.CLAUSE’s mission is to develop crops with higher yield in climates which are not very favorable for crops, it reminded me of my statement of purpose which was part of my college application. Before coming here I had a vision in my mind of what working for a seed company would be like, and I didn’t think it would allow me to pursue those goals. That was really nice to see.”





December 2014 Novozymes - Davis, CA
September 2014 Dow AgroSciences - Woodland, CA
January 2014 Forage Genetics - Davis, CA
November 2013 Marrone Bio Innovations - Davis, CA
September 2013 Eurofins STA Laboratories - Gilroy, CA
Sakata Seed America - Salinas, CA
May 2013 Nunhems Seeds, Acampo Research Station - Acampo, CA
March 2013 California Seed & Plant Labs - Pleasant Grove, CA
January 2013 Nunhems USA, Davis Laboratory - Davis, CA
November 2012 Syngenta Seeds - Woodland, CA
September 2012 Enza Zaden - San Juan Bautista
INCOTEC - Salinas, CA
August 2012 Magnum Seeds - Dixon, CA
May 2012 Monsanto Vegetable Seeds - Woodland, CA
April 2012 DuPont Pioneer - Woodland, CA
March 2012 Harris Moran Seed Company - Davis, CA

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