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University of Missouri-Columbia
Kansas City area
Website URL:
Posted: 03/8/2018
Horticulture Specialist/ Local Food Systems

POSITION: Regional Horticulture Specialist

LOCATION: Kansas City and Jackson County in the Urban region, with additional coverage as needed in Clay and Platte Counties in the Urban West.

University of Missouri Extension regional specialists provide collaborative leadership and subject-matter expertise to develop, deliver and evaluate educational programs focused on improving lives, communities and economies. Regional specialists provide educational opportunities that enable businesses, farms, families and communities to strengthen the economy and enhance quality of life. Additionally, regional specialists create partnerships with civic and business organizations, educational institutions, local leaders and key stakeholders to identify priorities, increase financial and in-kind resources, and determine how research-based education can best meet the needs of residents.

This position is responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating horticulture educational programs in the support of home horticulture, commercial horticulture production and development of local food systems. Topics may include, but not limited to, best management practices, pest control, plant diseases, weed control, soils, irrigation, IPM, pesticide certification, marketing of horticultural crops, local food systems, water quality, technical support for Master Gardener program and Master Naturalist program. In addition, apply knowledge related to general agricultural in the counties served. Position will be expected to work with the media in delivery of horticulture information and education.
The MU Extension's Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension program is strategically focused on the goal of improving Missourian's quality of life enhance the economic viability of Missouri enterprises, while protecting the environment and the state's natural resources. MU Extension research-based programs promote, enhances, and develops efficient and viable production, management and sustainable systems.

For information about extension's agriculture programs, visit

Program development, delivery and evaluation
· Plan: Work with constituents, colleagues, regional director, program director and campus faculty to establish program goals that meet local, regional and state needs, as well as grant and partnership requirements.
· Educate: Develop and provide high-quality educational programs that are consistent with the MU Extension mission, are research- and evidence-based, and result in learning and behavior changes that positively impact the economy and society. Foster diversity and inclusiveness by providing educational programs that are representative of diversity in the assigned counties.
· Collaborate: Participate in interdisciplinary teams, committees and task forces. Work with faculty and staff located in county offices, across program disciplines and regions, with boards and organizations and with other campuses throughout Missouri to carry out the mission, vision and values of MU Extension.
· Evaluate: Regularly collect qualitative and quantitative data to evaluate the impact of educational programs and services. Determine if knowledge and skills were learned, and if learning was applied.
Administrative and organizational leadership
· Resource generation and sustainability: Generate and manage revenue (e.g., contracts, grants, fees and gifts) to sustain and grow essential programs. Seek out and develop funding sources that align with organizational priorities, values and mission. Ensure compliance with requirements, and maintain fiscal accountability.
· Stakeholder relations: Develop and maintain essential partnerships with local and regional organizations, governments and key leaders. Effectively communicate MU Extension's value to stakeholders. Establish positive working relationships with volunteers, councils, local, state and federal agencies, soil and water boards, MU's College of Agriculture & Natural Sciences and Horticulture department faculty, and Lincoln University.
· Marketing and public relations: Market educational offerings and promote the mission of MU Extension to area leaders, chambers of commerce, civic organizations, public agencies and other partner organizations. This may include presentations, radio and news releases, meetings with legislators and other leaders, social media and other venues appropriate for the programs and audiences.
· Serve as the secretary of the Jackson County Soil and Water Conservations District.
Professional expectations
· Remain up-to-date on trends and research-based knowledge to effectively deliver relevant, reliable and responsive programs. Apply this knowledge in scholarly products such as curriculum development, in-service education instruction, articles in professional and popular press, presentations at professional meetings, funded grant proposals, etc.
· Actively participate in professional development opportunities to continuously improve skills and increase research-based knowledge. Demonstrate mastery of core competencies, including subject matter expertise, effective and innovative teaching strategies, and program development processes. Must be able to integrate new and emerging technology, listen effectively, and speak and write effectively. Must demonstrate organizational skills and collaborative leadership abilities.
· Must travel throughout Missouri regularly, using own transportation, and occasionally must travel out of state. Working evenings and weekends is often required to meet the needs of learners and constituents.
Conduct all activities in accordance with the Civil Rights Acts, Title IX, Rehabilitation, Americans with Disabilities Act and local, state and region affirmative action plans. Other duties and responsibilities will be expected to support the mission and purpose of MU Extension.
Administrative supervision is received from the urban regional director. Program leadership is received from the statewide agriculture and environment program director.
This position requires an earned master's degree. Bachelors or Masters in Horticulture or Plant Science with an emphasis in Horticulture. Preferably the graduate program should have involved an in-depth study related to production, breeding, post-harvest physiology, pest management or nutrition of horticultural crops, management of turf grass or ornamental plants. Successful candidates should have had undergraduate level courses related to commercial and home turf, vegetable, tree and fruit production; greenhouse management; landscape design; plant pathology, entomology and soils. Knowledge/experience in working with local food systems, small to mid-size vegetable and fruit operations, community gardens or urban agriculture preferred.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: The ideal candidate will have experience in designing, conducting and evaluating educational programs, and applying their horticulture subject matter knowledge related to commercial and home horticulture including viticulture. The programming and technical assistance will relate to but is not limited to programs such as the Master Gardener, Master Naturalist, Missouri Grown, Garden & Grow and topics such as horticulture and turf production, best management practices, pest control, plant diseases, brush and weed control, soils, irrigation, IPM, pesticide certification, marketing of horticultural crops, and water quality.
Experience working with volunteers and volunteer management is preferred.
Successful candidate will also demonstrate the following:
Effective and innovative teaching strategies that engage others. Must be able to integrate new and emerging technology into teaching strategies.
Effective listening, written and oral communication skills including public speaking and presentation abilities.
Organizational skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving abilities and collaborative leadership experiences.
Flexibility, resiliency, and the ability to operate with minimal guidance.
Positive outlook, high personal standard of excellence, and passion for the vision, mission and values of MU Extension.


Please complete the brief online application:

Submit the following for consideration:
· Cover letter
· Resume/CV
· Copies of all academic transcripts, and
· a list of 3-5 references

Additional Information: This is a 12-month academic position. Appointment may be made as ranked non-tenure track (NTT), depending on University approval of the academic credentials and qualifications of the successful candidate.
A CV must be submitted if interested in being considered for a ranked non-tenure track (NTT) appointment.

Questions about this position should be directed to University of Missouri Extension in Columbia, MO at: or call (573) 882-4721.

EEO / ADA / AA Employer