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Kelly Racette

Sustainability Scientist, Agriculture & Food Systems

Arlington, VA

Headshot of Kelly Racette.

Kelly Racette Sustainability Scientist, Agriculture & Food Systems © Courtesy Kelly Racette.


Agronomy, Crop physiology & breeding, Corporate sustainability, Agroecology




Kelly Racette joined The Nature Conservancy in April 2019 to provide technical and strategic leadership to the Conservancy’s collaborations with companies in the agriculture and food sectors. As a scientist within the Center for Sustainability Science, Kelly contributes to the development of action- and science-based solutions for businesses to achieve conservation outcomes and drive toward a regenerative food system. This includes work to support the Conservancy’s collaborations that aim to transform business practices and scale-up innovations in sustainable agriculture with companies such as Syngenta AG, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Nestlé, and Starbucks.

In her role, Kelly also supports the development and implementation of the Conservancy’s regional and local agriculture strategies, including the North America Sustainable Grazing Lands and Soil Health & Nutrients strategies.

Kelly received her doctorate in agronomy and plant breeding and an M.S. in agroecology from the University of Florida. Her research has focused on water-saving irrigation management and drought tolerance in peanut and potato, both in the SE U.S. and at the International Potato Center (CIP) in Lima, Peru. Prior to transitioning to agriculture, Kelly studied environmental science and policy at Duke University; lived in the Kruger National Park, South Africa to work on mitigating human-elephant conflict with chili peppers; and worked at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill supporting a pharmacology lab conducting research on nanotechnology for cancer therapy. Kelly originates from and is currently living in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

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