R&D Test Plot Manager

  • Location: US - Watsonville, California
  • Job Family: Operations
  • Time Type: Full time
  • Job Requisition ID: R0006599
  • Experience Years: 5-10 Years of Experience
  • Employee Type: Regular

About the Opportunity

We are looking for a dynamic R&D Test Plot Manager for our R&D Farming team who will be responsible for leading teams and the execution of research trials designed by breeders, plant physiologists, nursery, and applied research. Through optimized farming, the R&D Test Plot Manager will grow the highest standard flavor and yield crop as it is critical to ensure full expression of the potential of new genetic material. This role will bring value to the enterprise through experience in crop management, application of innovative growing practices and supporting the development and deployment of proprietary genetics. Additionally, this role will ensure the Research Farm teams have healthy succession plans for critical management and operational roles.


  • Oversee the agronomy of all crops, both in substrate and soil production systems, working with the existing research farm teams to grow the crops to best commercial practice.
  • Develop and implement sustainable research farm systems to deliver high quality data for both plant breeding and applied research trials so they can accurately guide commercial decisions.
  • Lead and empower the team and improve the overall technical knowledge of the research farm staff and strengthen the knowledge base of the research farm teams. Mentor and onboard new research farm staff and foster development and collaboration.
  • Ensure the research farms operate within the approved budgetary targets by managing and monitoring expenditures accordingly, including larger capital purchases.
  • Contribute to the strategic planning of the research farms and ensure implementation of plans in alignment with plant breeders and applied research.
  • Develop, design and implement high-quality processes and improvements in research farms and lead the development of new technologies in the breeding research farms.
  • Oversee the team’s pest and disease scouting and management. Ensure weed management with a clean and organized area.
  • Accountable for equipment maintenance and worker safety.
  • Manage an Administrative Assistant, Technical Grower and Test Plot Lead Supervisor. 
  • Manage land leases and landlord relationships.
  • Develop land plans and rotations with breeders.
  • Responsible for reviewing/approving all administrative paperwork for the farm crews in regard to payroll, training, evaluations, promotions and terminations.
  • Design and implement systems to efficiently manage labour and equipment.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Candidate Profile

  • Bachelor’s degree (with at least 8 years of experience) or a Master’s degree (with at least 5 years of experience) in Horticulture, Biology, Biochemistry or Agriculture, with comprehensive understanding of horticulture crops and agronomy, plant physiology and plant genetics.
  • Significant experience of managing complex horticultural sites involving large teams of full-time and seasonal staff.
  • Plan and manage budgets and prioritizing expenditure within set guidelines.
  • Knowledge of the agronomy of horticultural crops from seedling to harvesting.
  • Berry production knowledge including direct experience with soft fruit production would be highly desirable.
  • Practical experience of farming practices including equipment operation and management, irrigation management, and pest control.
  • Feel comfortable working in field, office and corporate settings, and able and willing to perform hard, repetitive physical work as necessary.
  • Occasional travel to other farming locations in Europe and Africa and at times, overseas. 
  • Valid driver’s license and the ability to be covered under company-sponsored vehicle insurance program are also required.
  • Bilingual (Spanish/English) strongly preferred.
  • Demonstrated proficiency with computer programs (Excel, PowerPoint, Word, Outlook).
  • Open attitude to try new systems and new technologies in farming.
  • Collaborative attitude towards breeding, entomology, and applied research customers, with the highest level of service.

Compensation & Benefits

The following information is provided in good faith as a general description of the salary range and benefits for the position posted.  The actual compensation offered to the successful candidate is dependent upon experience, skills, education, work location, internal pay equity, and other objective job-related factors. 

Salary Range estimated for the R&D Test Plot Manager role: $87,522.00 to $135,900.00.

Driscoll’s is committed to a culture of care and offers an attractive benefits package that includes comprehensive medical, dental, and vision coverage, life insurance, and disability coverage for positions working more than 30 hours per week. Other benefits include:  401(k) with employer match, profit-sharing participation, paid sick time, paid vacation, paid personal and family care leave, and a free Employee Assistance Program (EAP).  More detailed information regarding the benefits package, will be shared during the application process.

About Driscolls

Driscoll's is the global market leader for fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage and hundreds of independent growers around the world, Driscoll's is passionate about growing fresh, beautiful and delicious berries. Our values of humility, passion and trustworthiness have guided our mission to delight consumers around the world.

Driscoll's exclusive patented berry varieties are developed through years of research using only natural breeding methods – meaning, no GMOs. From farm-to-table, we focus on delivering a high quality, premium berry experience with our many supply chain partners.

Driscoll's is the trusted brand for Only the Finest Berries™.

Driscoll's es el proveedor líder en la comercialización de Fresas, Frambuesas, Zarzamoras y Arándanos Azules en el mundo. Con más de 100 años de herencia en agricultura y cientos de productores independiente alrededor del mundo, Driscoll's es una compañía apasionada por cultivar Berries frescas, hermosas y deliciosas. Nuestros valores de humildad, pasión y confianza han guiado nuestra misión de deleitar a los consumidores en el mundo.

Las variedades exclusivas de Driscoll's han sido desarrolladas a través de años de investigación usando sólo métodos de mejoramiento natural. De la granja a la mesa, nos enfocamos en ofrecer una experiencia de alta calidad con apoyo de nuestros socios de la cadena de suministro.

Driscoll's es la marca de confianza de sólo las mejores Berries.