Turning Today’s Gamers into Tomorrow’s Problem Solvers

Ag employees today come from a wide variety of backgrounds and inspirations, especially for those interested in STEM careers. Their motivations for entering agriculture can be surprising.

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On the one hand, there are people like data scientist Yichuan Gui, who grew up near Shanghai, China, one of the world’s largest cities. When asked about his inspiration, he says, “I was intrigued by the challenge of solving problems.”

On the other hand, there are people like software application developer Ryan Adriano, who grew up next to a farm near Manilla, in the Philippines. He explains his own inspiration for pursuing software development: “Growing up, I used to play a lot of video games.”

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On the other hand, there are people like software application developer Ryan Adriano, who grew up next to a farm near Manilla, in the Philippines. He explains his own inspiration for pursuing software development: “Growing up, I used to play a lot of video games.”

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Though their life stories may sound quite different, their career paths brought them both to Monsanto and Climate Corporation, a Monsanto subsidiary, pursuing careers in modern agriculture.

An Evolving Industry

Adriano and Gui entered agriculture during its digital transformation phase, when companies ranging from seed producers to tractor builders were evolving their operations to incorporate digital tools and data science. Both hoped  to use their skills to do something important.

Gui says, “I wanted to make a contribution. I was focused on finding a job related to the medical or agricultural fields, because those have the most practical problems.”

Adriano agrees. “When I came to St. Louis, I started Googling ‘best places to work in St. Louis’ and Monsanto came up. One thing that struck me was the company’s goal to establish a sustainable global food supply.”
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Adriano agrees. “When I came to St. Louis, I started Googling ‘best places to work in St. Louis’ and Monsanto came up. One thing that struck me was the company’s goal to establish a sustainable global food supply.”

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More and more employees like Adriano and Gui are finding that Monsanto offers a work environment where their skills are useful and appreciated, and where they get to work with other like-minded individuals. They want jobs where they can make a difference, and they are finding them in agriculture.

Searching for Efficiency

Both men use their knowledge of software development and data science to improve efficiency for their peers and customers.

For example, Adriano works closely with scientists in Monsanto’s regulatory affairs division. He is particularly proud of one recent contribution: a cloud-based software application that reduces the time to generate a 47-page report from 30 minutes to a few seconds.

“I think the benefit there is huge,” he explains. “That’s time-saving for them; now users don’t have to wait."

Gui is equally proud of the tool he is currently working on, which uses artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to help farmers identify crop diseases quickly and accurately.

Gui brings a lifelong love of problem solving to his position with Climate Corporation.

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Gui brings a lifelong love of problem solving to his position with Climate Corporation.

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“Traditionally, they had to have their own knowledge or hire someone, which takes time and money,” says Gui. “The good thing about AI is that we can build a tool to help farmers detect it fast.”
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“Traditionally, they had to have their own knowledge or hire someone, which takes time and money,” says Gui. “The good thing about AI is that we can build a tool to help farmers detect it fast.”

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Inspiring the Next Generation

Both Adriano and Gui have excellent advice for students interested in STEM fields, who want to have a lasting, positive impact.

Gui notes, “There are many opportunities to make a difference in the world. I encourage young people working in or pursuing STEM fields to explore opportunities in agriculture. STEM knowledge can unlock potential in many areas of ag, and there is a bright future waiting for young people with these skills.”

Adriano says, “The work we do for Monsanto is really important. This is not just about what’s here right now, it’s what we’re going to need in the future: maintain a sustainable food supply and help for our farmers.”

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Adriano says, “The work we do for Monsanto is really important. This is not just about what’s here right now, it’s what we’re going to need in the future: maintain a sustainable food supply and help for our farmers.”

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A Source of Employment for Decades to Come

The need for STEM skills in agriculture is only going to increase. The USDA estimates that the industry will add 55,000 new employees every year for the foreseeable future. A substantial portion of those positions will need STEM training.

For today’s students who are exploring the sciences more and want to make a difference in the world, pursuing a STEM career in agriculture is a win-win.

Come join us on our modern agriculture journey.

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