Seed Business 101

Seed Business 101: Horticulture


Attracting and retaining talented new employees is a critical challenge for the seed industry. The Seed Business 101 course was created, with input from industry executives, to accelerate the careers of promising new employees and young managers.

By selecting and sponsoring employees to attend this course, companies acknowledge past performance and invest in accelerated professional development.

The course also offers invaluable insights and perspective to seed dealers and companies offering products and services to the seed industry, including seed treatments, crop protection, seed enhancement and technology, machinery and equipment, etc. The instructors include experts from the public and private sectors.

This course is planned for in-person instruction but subject to change due to COVID-19, as we aim to keep our courses as safe as possible for students and instructors. See our COVID Policies on the Registration page for more information.

Planned for December 2022

8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. (Pacific time zone)
UC Davis campus

Early Registration: $3,150.00*
Regular Registration: $3,500.00*

Tuition includes all course materials, lunches and breaks. Class size is limited so early registration is recommended.

*Course details (date, price, location) are subject to change until registration opens.



UC Davis Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center - AGR Hall*
530 Alumni Ln
Davis, CA 95616

Campus Parking information


Course Curriculum:

The goal of Seed Business 101 is to shorten the learning curve of current and future seed leaders, seed professionals, ag. investors, and help them avoid costly mistakes. Instructors are experienced and successful seed executives.

Through lectures, case studies and group assignments, this course would direct your attention on the optimum operations of the five major functional areas of a seed company:

  • Plant Breeding and Research
  • Production
  • Operations
  • Sales and Marketing
  • Finance and Administration

The course offers participants a broad understanding of the major aspects of a seed company’s operations and a cross-departmental knowledge of best practices for profitability. Four case studies have been custom designed to immerse each participant in decision making roles covering all five functional areas of a fictitious seed company. The course is designed to maximize interactive participation and exchanges between students and instructors.

Participants are introduced to the fundamentals of genetics and plant breeding, variety life cycle, supply chain and production planning, profitability, and financials of the seed business. The context for the case studies is provided by introducing the company history, organizational structure, sales history and financials.  The first case study of marketing & sales function is introduced in the afternoon of the first day.

Over the course of the next 4 days, participants will be divided into working groups to study critical processes in a seed company’s daily life through the following case studies:

  • Gearing up to enter a new market
  • Inventory management
  • Product Liability
  • New Product Introduction

Additional information on production, operations, production research, inventory management, R&D and budgets, specific to the company activities is introduced during these case studies.  Guest speakers who are industry experts in the areas of the case studies, present before the group work.  At the end of each case study, each group will present the optimum strategy, followed by discussion and instructors’ recommendations.

A visit to a local seed company site is included in Day 4 activities.  The final day offers opportunities to learn about seed technology research and the role of pollinators in seed production. Instructor critiques are conducted, followed by a course recap, final Q&A and course evaluation. A Certificate of Completion is awarded to each successful graduate.



Mike Pereira, Principal Consultant, Granum Services, LLC
has 41 years’ experience in seeds, all targeted to vegetable seed production, but also including 7 years in biofuels seed production. Mike has extensive experience in leading global seed production organizations and establishing new production areas. In bio-fuels, he established the first hybrid seed system for Miscanthus, an ethanol feedstock, and directed hybrid seed production and plantation research of Jatropha, a diesel and jet fuel feedstock. Currently, Mike consults in vegetable seeds and alternative crops through his company, Granum Services, LLC, serves on the board of 2 seed focused companies and is Chief Agronomist for FInistere Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on agricultural and food technology.


David R. Armstrong, CEO, Sakata
Dave Armstrong is president and CEO of Sakata America Holding Company, Inc. and is responsible for all operations in Sakata Seed Corporation’s subsidiaries within North and Central America, including research, seed production, marketing and distribution for vegetables and flowers.  Over four decades in horticulture and agriculture, Armstrong has established and developed businesses with direct profit and loss accountability on three continents, from bases in Kuala Lumpur, Tokyo, Amsterdam and the San Francisco Bay Area, among others.  Prior to joining Sakata, Armstrong held senior marketing and management positions with Syngenta. 


John Schoenecker, HM.Clause, retired
John spent over 32 years in the vegetable seed business with stints in sales, product management, marketing, legal, regulatory and intellectual property for HM.CLAUSE and its legacy companies. John has been active in national and global aspects of the seed business serving as the ASTA (American Seed Trade Association) representative to the vegetable and ornamental section of the International Seed Federation (ISF)  and with the board and as chair of ASTA. John represented ASTA and was involved with developing the AgAccord and testifying to the US Senate to encourage the US to join the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources (ITPGR).


Jovan Djordjevic, Director of Education, Seed Biotechnology Center, UC Davis
Jovan is a seed executive with over 25 years experience in the field crops and vegetable seed industries. His career began in France in 1996, as a corn breeder for Cargill Seeds (later Monsanto). Jovan continued in Canada as the Canola Breeding Lead for Monsanto, then in California as the R&D Team lead for Bayer/BASF. Throughout his prolific career, he has been a part of over 200 releases of hybrid varieties of corn, canola, tomato, pepper, sweet corn, watermelon, melon, cucumber, onions, carrots and leek. He is looking forward, together with the SBC team of instructors, to impart his experiences to future generations of plant breeders and other seed industry professionals.

Hotel Information:

Discounted rates are available for course participants at local Davis hotels. Course participants are responsible for own travel and hotel accommodations.

Hyatt Place
173 Old Davis Road
Davis, California 95616
(Located 0.2 miles from course location)

Rate*: $159.00 per night plus tax -- Breakfast is included!

*Rate is available until November 20, 2021, after which reservations will be subject to the hotel’s best available rate at that time

Reserve your room online >>

Or call the hotel directly at 530-756-9500 and ask to reserve under the block “Seed Business 101”.

Aggie Inn
245 1st St
Davis, CA 95616
(0.6 miles from course location)

Rate*: $144.00 per night plus tax

*Rate is available until November 8, 2021, after which reservations will be subject to the hotel’s best available rate at that time.

Reserve your room online >>

Or call the hotel directly 530.756.0352 and ask to reserve a room under the block “Seed Business 101-Horticulture”

Best Western Plus Palm Court Hotel
234 D St
Davis, CA 95616
(0.9 miles from course location)

Rate*: $154.00 per night plus tax

*Rate is available until November 8, 2021, after which reservations will be subject to the hotel’s best available rate at that time.

Reserve your room online >>

Or call the hotel directly 530.753.7100 and ask to reserve a room under the block “Seed Business 101-Horticulture”