Senior Plant Breeder & Breeding Manager

Position Summary

As a Senior Plant Breeder and Breeding Manager you will work to develop proprietary commercial tomato and pepper varieties for Johnny's breeding program.  You must have an entrepreneurial spirit, be a creative and results-oriented breeder, and work to develop our product line to answer market demands while working in collaboration with the Product Development team.  You will also be responsible faor managing collaborative breeding efforts with other companies and cooperators. You will be managing a team that includes two seasoned PhD Breeders and a staff of Breeding Technicians, as well as a Seasonal Pollination Crew. The position is based at our Research and Development farm in Albion, Maine and reports to the Director of Farm Operations and Breeding.

Johnny's breeding team is focused on a diverse array of targets to meet the needs of our direct-to-market commercial farmers and avid home gardeners. We develop products with superior flavor, higher yield, and pest and disease resistance under adverse conditions. In addition to the field-based breeding work in Maine, our breeders utilize regional trial cooperators across the country to gather feedback and ensure the wide adaptability of our proprietary bred products; travel demands are not extensive, however.


  • Lead and manage all aspects of vegetable variety development in the breeding programs at JSS.
  • In collaboration with cross-functional product teams at Johnny's, develop breeding objectives, target markets, methods, and strategies to create superior proprietary vegetable varieties that align with the JSS mission and that support Johnny's customers.
  • Coordinate and manage all cooperative breeding efforts with other companies.
  • Maintain clear and accurate breeding records compatible with JSS data management guidelines and practices.
  • Manage the outsourced molecular marker and plant pathology support functions for the program as appropriate.
  • Provide genetically fixed parent lines to the Foundation Seed Program to initiate the seed production logistics for new varieties, in line with Johnny's New Product Development (NPD) process.
  • Manage the off-station breeding nurseries and help coordinate product variety trials for Johnny's-bred products along with the Regional Trials Coordinator.
  • Manage and develop a team of Breeders, including senior staff and technical support, to maintain a strong team culture of innovation and success.
  • Manage the breeding program budget.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • BA/BS/MS required.
  • PhD preferred.


  • 15 years of industry breeding and/or management experience.
  • Experience with/knowledge of agricultural/horticultural practices and techniques.
  • Understanding of different types of breeding techniques.
  • Analytical and creative problem-solver.
  • Previous exposure to organic systems.
  • Ability to prioritize, self-manage, and seek help when necessary.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills.
  • Ability to build consensus and function as part of a team.
  • High attention to detail.
  • Expert in agronomic best practices.
  • Technical skill in statistical analysis.
  • Availability for weekend work hours, as required.
  • Availability to work overtime as needed, often on very short notice.
  • Valid Maine driver’s license or ability to obtain a Maine driver's license within 90 days of hire.

Essential Physical Requirements

  • Capable of physically working outdoors, often in less-than-ideal weather conditions.
  • Must be able to work around bees and other insects.
  • Ability to bend, pull, and lift up to 50 pounds.


  • Health Insurance (HMO, PPO, HSA)
  • Dental Insurance
  • Vision Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Accounts (Medical & Dependent Care)
  • Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Profit Sharing
  • 401(k)
  • Employee Discount
  • Maternity/Paternity/Adoption & Foster Care Leave
  • Company Paid Life Insurance
  • Voluntary Life Insurance
  • Voluntary Pet Insurance
  • Company Paid Short- & Long-Term Disability Insurance
  • Paid Time Off
  • Educational Assistance

Johnny's Selected Seeds provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, marital status, amnesty, or status as a covered veteran in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local laws.


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Our mission is helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service.