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South Dakota State University
Agronomy, Horticulture & Plant Science
South Dakota
Posted: 08/13/2021
Agronomy - Crops Extension Field Specialist II

LOCATION: Pierre, SD Regional Extension Center

APPOINTMENT:  This position is accountable to the Head, and serves under the programmatic direction of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director.

POSITION PURPOSE: The Crops Extension Field Specialist II will provide strong regional and statewide leadership in the development and dissemination of research-based programming and resources to support the production of field crops in Central South Dakota. The successful candidate will travel extensively to build strong relationships with producer groups, agribusinesses, and governmental agencies to identify ongoing and emerging needs of crop producers. This is a 12-month, full-time, benefit-eligible, non-faculty exempt position.

SDSU is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to and/or coordinate Extension programming that addresses the experiences of underrepresented minorities in organizations, and actively seeks to increase social and intellectual diversity among its faculty and staff. Women, minorities, veterans, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The successful candidate will work cooperatively with other Extension specialists, university faculty and researchers, and agribusiness industry and commodity groups to develop and deliver quality agronomic educational programming. The successful candidate will work with a team of 17 SDSU Extension colleagues throughout South Dakota.


  • Develop, market, deliver, and evaluate educational programming to enhance current agronomic production practices.
  • Develop and conduct applied on-farm research/demonstration trials and programs.
  • Design and conduct high-quality Crop Performance Testing yield trials throughout Western South Dakota in collaboration with the Crop Performance Testing coordinator.
  • Conduct pesticide applicator training for licensees in Central South Dakota.
  • Develop relationships with stakeholders to continually assess agronomic opportunities and identify needs.
  • Actively participate in one or more Extension work team to provide agronomic expertise for program development, delivery, and evaluation efforts statewide.
  • Create and deliver research-based information through novel outreach platforms such as social media and the extension website.
  • Develop and implement effective presentations, workshops, and training to diverse audiences.
  • Develop and implement effective evaluation tools for measuring and reporting program impact.
  • Develop and interact with agricultural learning communities.
  • Develop grants and/or cost recovery mechanisms to assist with program sustainability.
  • Provide leadership and assistance with other activities as assigned.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION: An understanding of and commitment to SDSU affirmative action goals is expected.

PERCENTAGE TIME ALLOTMENT: As a Field Specialist II, expectations are based on these approximate percentages of responsibilities:

  • (20%) Identifies and monitors variables and issues important to learning community vitality. Ability to use and apply these variables to program prioritization.
  • (15%) Identifies and develops funding proposals to support new and/or enhanced programming within and/or across capstone areas. Provides effective grant management duties that include serving as co-investigator. Documented scholarly contributions. Provides service and leadership in professional organizations.
  • (15%) Uses cutting-edge research-based information and data in programming and collaborates on state and regional emerging issues with other regional specialists and stakeholders.
  • (15%) Develops relationships with state-level stakeholders and/or groups and influence decision making of stakeholder groups on state-wide emerging issues. Provides specialized subject matter support.
  • (20%) Develops and enhances existing technology to improve program development and delivery (SDSU Extension).
  • (10%) Recruits, utilizes, and organizes volunteers into productive groups to enhance educational outreach. Identify potential industry leaders and help develop their capacity to accomplish learning community and industry goals.
  • (5%) Supervises and/or mentors new, or less experienced, field specialists or staff.


§ Must be authorized to work in the United States. Sponsorship is not available for this position.

§ M.S. in Agronomy or closely related field obtained by first day of employment.

§ Certified Crop Advisor or ability to obtain certification within two years of employment.

§ Experience with crop and/or forage production in the upper Great Plains.

§ Excellent oral and written communication skills.

§ Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences.

§ Strong interpersonal skills; ability to work as a team member.

§ Demonstrated use of technology in managing and/or delivering educational programs.

§ Demonstrated ability or potential to plan, implement, and evaluate educational materials and direct effective programs.

§ At least three years of experience in agronomy-related position.

§ Valid driver's license, or ability to obtain one within 30 days of hire, and willingness to travel.


§ Ph.D. in Agronomy or closely related field obtained by first day of employment.

§ Previous Extension experience.

§ Successful volunteer management experience.

§ Demonstrated leadership in developing or leading learning communities.

§ Demonstrated leadership and teamwork with stakeholders.

§ Demonstrated collaboration in developing funding proposals to support new and/or enhanced programming.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Position is open until filled with full consideration given to applications received by September 20, 2021.

BENEFITS: South Dakota State University offers a wide range of benefits including medical, dental, and flexible benefits, retirement plans, compensation packages, paid holidays, and vacation leave. Employees also have access to internal and state-sponsored training as well as reduced tuition for state-supported courses at all State of South Dakota academic institutions.

UNIVERSITY/COMMUNITY: SDSU is a land grant institution and the state’s largest institution of higher education.

SDSU offers a rich academic experience in an environment of inclusion and access through inspired, student-centered education, creative activities and research, innovation and engagement that improve the quality of life in South Dakota, the region, the nation, and the world. Its employees embrace the university’s core values of being people-centered, expanding knowledge through creativity, embracing organizational and personal integrity, commitment to diversity, and excellence through continuous improvement.

As the state’s 1862 Morrill Act land-grant institution, the work of the university is carried out on its main resident campus in Brookings, at sites in Sioux Falls, Pierre, Rapid City, Aberdeen and through Extension offices and Agricultural Experiment Station research sites across South Dakota.

SDSU was recognized as one of 54 institutions in the United States as an Innovation and Economic Prosperity University by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities in 2014. The university’s total research expenditures are greater than $60 million. SDSU is the state’s first High Research Activity institution as classified by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

The Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science includes over 37 faculty whose expertise spans the fields of agronomy, entomology, genetics/breeding, horticulture, plant pathology, plant physiology, precision agriculture, seed science, soil science, and weed science. The department has a robust research program that consistently ranks at or near the top of departments at SDSU. Dissemination of science-based knowledge is a core mission of the department. Our faculty Extension Specialists and Field Specialists provide an effective structure for meeting this mission. In Academic Programs, the department provides nationally competitive training for undergraduate students leading to B.S. degrees in Agronomy, Horticulture, and Precision Agriculture. The department also offers a strong graduate training environment leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in plant science and biological sciences.

Jackrabbits Athletics competes as a NCAA Division I member, with membership in the Missouri Valley Football Conference, the Summit League and the Big XII for wrestling.

APPLICATION PROCESS: SDSU accepts applications through an on-line employment site. To apply, visit:, search by the position title, view the job announcement, and click on “apply for this posting.” This system will guide you through the electronic application form. This employment site will also require the attachment of a cover letter, which should specifically address how the candidate meets the qualifications as outlined in the advertisement, resume, and a reference page with the contact information for three professional references. Email applications will not be accepted. SDSU is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to and/or coordinate course offerings that address the experiences of underrepresented minorities in organizations. Please contact SDSU Human Resources at (605) 688-4128 if you require assistance with this process.

Any offer of employment is contingent on the university’s verification of credentials and other information required by law and/or university policies, including but not limited to a criminal background check.

South Dakota State University is a tobacco free environment.

It is the policy of the University to maintain a drug-free environment and to thereby establish, promote, and maintain a safe and healthy working and learning environment for employees and students. This position is subject to South Dakota State University’s Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy 4:14.

For questions on the position, contact Jonathan Kleinjan at or (605) 688-4600.

South Dakota State University is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its faculty, staff, and students. Women, veterans, persons with disabilities, and minorities are encouraged to apply. Arrangements for accommodations required by disabilities can be made by emailing SDSU prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, citizenship, ancestry, gender, marital status, pregnancy, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran’s status, or any other protected class in the offering of all educational programs and employment opportunities. Individuals with concerns regarding discrimination should contact: Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources, Administration 318, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007. Phone: (605) 688-4128.