Sr Research Scientist

Chiquita Brands International, a leading international marketer and distributor of fresh and processed food products is pleased to accept applications for a Senior Research Scientist in Agronomy or Horticulture for their R&D department located in Salinas, California.

The highly motivated, successful applicant is expected to effectively lead the research in the area of agricultural practices to increase yield and quality of lettuce and other cold season vegetables, support the development of new products, variety screening, and improve fertilizer and water use efficiency while maintaining environmental integrity. A PhD or MS degree in Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Science, Soil Science, or closely related field from an accredited institution is required. Preference will be given to applicants with experience in vegetable production, soil fertility, water and nutrient management and to bilingual (English/Spanish) applicants. Focus of this position will be on variety trial research to deliver improved or new salad ingredients, innovations in seed technology, soil fertility and fertilization, irrigation and water quality, pest management, cropping systems-plant physiology-crop yield and quality interactions. The applicant will be expected to work outside under challenging weather conditions, lift up to 50 lbs and travel to field locations in California, Arizona and Mexico for up to 25% of the time.  The applicant is expected to possess a valid driver’s license.


  • Develop and lead a business-based agricultural/horticultural research program with focus on the screening  of lettuce and other leafy green vegetable varieties with improved disease, insect, and abiotic stress tolerance, enhanced nutrient and water use efficiencies, and increased field yield and processing qualities.
  • Develop innovative and economically viable approaches to advance growing and harvesting practices, including seed treatment technologies, planting techniques, irrigation, fertilizer and pest management technologies, and harvest approaches to improve crop yield and quality of fresh-cut lettuce and leafy greens.
  • Support other functional teams, including Business Management, Agricultural Operations, Food Safety & Quality.
  • Design, coordinate and execute field experiments, collect, analyze and interpret data for the preparation of final reports and presentations.
  • Effectively present research findings to other business units, growers, industry and university collaborators.
  • Effectively supervise employees.
  • Manage and maintain R&D trial farms, seed rooms, planting and seed equipment and supplies.
  • Maintain accurate and complete records and data bases, and report findings in the form of reports, technical documents and presentations.
  • Assist with the operational implementation and scale-up of new products and processes.
  • Lead data base management and integration of data bases into operations and research procedures.
  • Develop variety pipeline and new product data bases and handouts for project management and sales teams.
  • Provide technical leadership in agricultural/horticultural research.
  • Follow safety procedures and lead safety trainings for supervised employees
  • Responsible for project planning, cross-functional communication and timely management of project tasks.
  • Responsible for trial farm tours and variety trial field demonstrations.
  • Maintain relationships with growers, seed companies, fertilizer and pesticide industries
  • Provide and promote collaboration with university-based researchers and county-based farm advisors to facilitate research and implementation of results.

Job Requirements

  Required Education:

  • Minimum of MS degree in Agronomy, Horticulture, Soil Science, or closely related field. PhD desired.

Required Experience:

  • Minimum 4 years experience in the area of applied research in vegetable production, nutrient and water management, or soil science.
  • Demonstrated experience with the experimental design, execution and management of field trials, and data collection.

Required Skills:

  • Highly proficient with computers, including word processing, data and statistical analysis programs, and communication software, such as MS Excel, Word, Power Point, SigmaPlot, SAS, Statistica, Minitab or JMP software programs.
  • Demonstrated working-knowledge in data-mining and statistical analysis, and proficiency or ability to learn data base management.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and demonstrated ability to work with technical and cross functional teams, internally and externally (e.g. research institutes, growers, representatives of seed companies, fertilizer and pesticide industries, suppliers, laboratories, etc.)
  • Demonstrated project management skills,
  • Demonstrated problem-solving skills (pays attention to details and effort to understand causes instead of just the effects) and creativity for developing innovative solutions and applications.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with strong emphasis on technical presentations and reports.
  • Ability to effectively manage multiple projects under short time lines to produce commercially viable solutions.

Apply Here

Comments are closed.