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South Dakota State University
Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science
South Dakota
Posted: 06/9/2022
Agronomy - Extension Field Specialist I

LOCATION: Aberdeen Regional Extension Center

APPOINTMENT: Full-time, 12-month, benefit-eligible, 100% non-faculty exempt position. This position is accountable to the Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science Department Head, and serves under the programmatic direction of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director.

POSITION PURPOSE: The Agronomy Extension Field Specialist I will provide strong regional and statewide leadership in delivering research-based programming in the Competitive Crops Capstone area. This Position will be responsible for development and dissemination of research-based programming and educational resources on sustainable agronomic practices including weed control and management in field and horticultural crops across South Dakota. The incumbent will also act as a resource for training Master Gardener groups throughout South Dakota. The successful candidate will travel extensively to build strong relationships with producers and stakeholder groups, agribusinesses, and governmental agencies to identify ongoing and emerging needs affecting crop producers.

South Dakota State University promotes access to and opportunities for all to receive the benefit of and participate in education, research, and service and is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to this land-grant mission of access.

MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The successful candidate will work cooperatively with a team of South Dakota State University (SDSU) Extension field specialists, university faculty and researchers, and agribusiness industry and commodity groups to develop and deliver high impact, quality agronomic educational programming.


  • Develop, market, and evaluate educational programming to enhance sustainable agronomic practices including weed control and management strategies for row- and horticultural-crops in South Dakota. This includes writing scholarly and Extension publications or other similar educational materials.
  • Develop integrated agronomy and livestock extension teams with the intent to create inter- and intra-state collaborations that address weed control/management issues utilizing conventional and precision agriculture strategies.
  • Use technology as appropriate to deliver research-based information through outreach platforms such as social media, the SDSU Extension Web platform, podcasts, video, etc.
  • Conduct an annual train-the-trainer program for Extension agronomy and livestock professionals.
  • Provide leadership to one or more demonstration trials in collaboration with the SDSU Weed Extension Education & Demonstration program Extension Specialist.
  • Develop and implement effective evaluation tools to measure and report program impact.
  • Develop relationships with stakeholders to continually assess programmatic opportunities and identify needs.
  • Participate as appropriate in critical constituent events, including Winter Farm Shows, Dakota Fest, State Fair, and AES Field Station tours.

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

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

  • (25%) Ability to identify and monitor variables and issues important to learning community vitality.
  • (10%) Participate in externally funded projects led by Extension State Specialists or Field Specialist colleagues within and/or across capstone areas.
  • (20%) Use cutting-edge, research-based information and data in programming and collaborate on state emerging issues.
  • (15%) Develop relationships with all pertinent stakeholders and/or groups on state-wide emerging issues. Provide subject matter support.
  • (20%) Utilize and adapt technology in program development and delivery.
  • (10%) Recruit and utilize volunteers to enhance educational outreach. Identify potential industry leaders to help accomplish learning community and industry goals.


  • Must be authorized to work in the United States. Sponsorship is not available for this position.
  • M.S. degree, completed by first day of employment in Agronomy, Weed Science, Plant Science, or other closely related field.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to conduct innovative applied field-based studies on row- and horticultural-crop production systems utilizing small-plot research techniques and citizen scientists.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work as a team member.
  • Demonstrated use of technology in managing or delivering educational programs.
  • Certified Crop Advisor certification or ability to obtain within two years of employment.
  • Valid driver's license or ability to obtain one within 30 days of hire, and willingness to travel.


  • Ph.D. completed by first day of employment in Agronomy, Weed Science, Plant Science, or other closely related field.
  • Previous Extension experience.
  • Working knowledge of Great Plains crop production systems in field and horticulture crops.
  • Working knowledge of weed management practices.
  • Potential ability to identify and develop funding proposals to support new and/or enhanced programming within and/or across capstone areas as PI or Co-PI.
  • Potential to publish extension materials and peer reviewed journals.


SDSU Extension - SDSU Extension is one mode of outreach utilized by South Dakota State University. It brings educational programs and research-based information to the citizens of South Dakota. The mission of SDSU Extension is "Growing South Dakota". It works with academic departments and the Agricultural Experiment Station to provide unbiased, science-based knowledge focused on issues and needs. Extension has five capstone program areas: Competitive Crops Systems; Competitive Livestock Systems; Youth and Community Leadership; Food and Families; and Urban/Rural Initiatives which are part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences and the College of Education and Human Sciences.

Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science - The Department of Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science includes over 40 faculty whose expertise spans the fields of Agronomy, Entomology, Genetics, Horticulture, Plant Breeding, Plant Pathology, Precision Agriculture, Soil Science, and Weed Science. The Department has robust applied and basic research programs that consistently rank at the top of departments at SDSU. Discovery and dissemination of science-based knowledge are core missions 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 Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science department also offers a strong graduate training environment leading to M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Plant Science and Biological Sciences.

South Dakota State University -

South Dakota State University 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 of thought, 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.

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 DEADLINE: The position is open until filled with full consideration given to applications received by July 7, 2022.

APPLICATION PROCESS: SDSU accepts applications through an on-line employment site. To apply, please visit: , search by the position title, view the job announcement, and click on “apply for this job.” This system guides you through the electronic application form and requires you to attach a letter of interest, resume, and reference page, which includes the current mailing and email addresses and phone numbers of at least five references. Email applications will not be accepted. Please contact SDSU Human Resources at (605) 688-4128 if you require assistance with this process.

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

South Dakota State University is a tobacco free environment. It is university policy 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 Connie Strunk at or 605-782-3290.

South Dakota State University promotes access to and opportunities for all to receive the benefit of and participate in education, research, and service and is especially interested in candidates that can contribute to this land-grant access mission. SDSU is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to, and SDSU prohibits discrimination on, the basis of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, gender, gender identification, transgender, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, or any other status that may become protected under law against discrimination in the offering of all educational programs and employment opportunities. Arrangements for accommodations required by disabilities can be made by emailing Individuals with concerns regarding discrimination should contact: Equal Opportunity Officer/Title IX Coordinator, Human Resources, Morrill Hall 100, SDSU, Brookings, SD 57007, 605-688-4128.