Transforming Agriculture, Perennially


Betsy Trana

Perennial Oilseeds Research Technician

Betsy Trana lives in Salina, Kansas. She has a Bachelor of Science in Agroecology from the University of Wyoming, with a minor in Insect Biology.

What work experiences are most relevant to your position at The Land Institute?
I spent the past two years working at an organic seed farm, where I was involved in all field and seed cleaning operations. I worked with a large variety of vegetable, flower, herb, and grain seeds; gaining an intimate understanding of the basics of seed growing, cleaning, and preservation. I hope to carry this passion and knowledge into my work with Silphium seed here at The Land Institut.

What’s most inspiring about your position?
The opportunity to gain an in-depth understanding of plant genetics and breeding while exploring the possibility of building more resilient agroecosystems. I’m also really interested in the idea of working directly with farmers and growers to incorporate their perspectives and ideas into what we already know about these unique perennial crops.

What drew you to work at The Land Institute?
The idea of working with a curious community of researchers and agriculturalists toward a common goal of reimagining and improving our relationship with the land.

What else are you passionate about?
Connecting with people while exploring nature-filled places. Growing and gathering food. Continuing to learn what it means to take good care of myself and those around me.

If you were to write a book, what would it be about?
A drama-filled first-person account of life under the soil as a springtail (I mean, who’s not curious about what it would be like to have a furcula and a collophore?)

What were you like at age 10?
Wandering around the Iowa countryside with my dog and sometimes a few cats – poking at the dirt, stirring up pheasants, collecting rocks and old found objects, while generously distributing a strong dose of difficult attitude to anyone I encountered along the way.

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