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South Dakota State University
Agronomy, Horticulture and Plant Science
Sioux Falls
South Dakota
Posted: 06/10/2022
Horticulture - Extension Field Specialist I

LOCATION: Sioux Falls, SD Regional Extension Center

START DATE: On or before August 22, 2022

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 Horticulture Extension Field Specialist I will provide strong regional and statewide leadership in the development and dissemination of research-based programming and resources to support the horticultural needs of consumers in South Dakota. The successful candidate will travel extensively to build strong relationships with consumers, businesses, and governmental agencies to identify ongoing and emerging needs of consumers. This is a 12-month, full-time, benefit-eligible, non-faculty exempt position.

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.


This position will address consumer horticulture issues across the state, including home landscape plantings as well as food production in home, school, and community gardens. This individual will work with Master Gardeners, Garden Hotline staff, and other horticulture team members to identify and address educational and programming needs of clientele. The successful candidate will work with a multi-disciplinary team of SDSU Extension colleagues throughout South Dakota.


  • Develop, market, deliver, and evaluate educational programming to enhance current horticulture practices.
  • Actively participate in one or more Extension work teams to provide horticulture 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 a variety of audiences.
  • Develop and implement effective evaluation tools for measuring and reporting program impact.
  • Develop and interact with horticulture 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 South Dakota State University (SDSU) affirmative action goals is expected.

As an Extension Field Specialist I, expectations are based on these approximate percentages of responsibilities:

  • (25%) Ability to identify and monitor variables and issues important to a learning community vitality.
  • (10%) Participates in externally funded projects led by Extension State Specialists or Field Specialist colleagues within and/or across capstone areas.
  • (20%) Uses cutting-edge research-based information and data in programming and collaborates on state emerging issues.
  • (15%) Develops relationships with all pertinent stakeholders and/or groups on state-wide emerging issues. Provides subject matter support.
  • (20%) Utilizes and adapts technology in program development and delivery (SDSU Extension).
  • (10%) Recruits and utilizes volunteers to enhance educational outreach. Identifies 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. in Horticulture, Plant Science or closely related field obtained by first day of employment.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with a variety of 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 to direct effective programs.
  • Valid driver's license, or ability to obtain one within 30 days of hire, and willingness to travel.


  • Ph.D. in Horticulture, Plant Science or closely related field obtained by first day of employment.
  • Previous Extension experience.
  • Coursework in Horticulture, ornamentals, food crops, etc.
  • Successful volunteer management experience.
  • Demonstrated leadership in developing or leading learning communities.
  • Demonstrated experience in Horticulture.
  • 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 July 10, 2022.

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.

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.

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 job.” 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 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 Rhoda or (605) 381-9606.

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.