Title: Extension Educator, Agriculture & Horticulture
Classification: Assistant Extension Educator, Job Code 9625ST
Appointment: Full-time (100% time), Funded by Otter Tail County in partnership with East Otter Tail & Wadena County SWCDs
Extension Dept: Agricultural and Natural Resource Systems (ANR)
Office Location: East Otter Tail County Extension Office, New York Mills, MN
Apply by: September 25, 2023
ABOUT THIS POSITION
The University is looking for candidates with skills and experience in engaging stakeholders in agronomy; developing and strengthening networks; and teaching and facilitating informal educational programs that are relevant to Otter Tail County. This position is held in partnership among the University, Otter Tail County, and the East Otter Tail and Wadena County Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs) and will deliver research-informed programs that are adapted to support the needs of the community. This will involve collaborating with local community partners and stakeholders to support program development, delivery, marketing, evaluation, and coordination of logistics. The Extension educator will be responsible for determining local needs involving Extension programming and will provide technical assistance and information in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources, as well as oversight of the Master Gardener program and volunteers.
This position will:
- Provide research-based educational resources to residents of Otter Tail and Wadena counties.
- Build trusted relationships and partnerships with community members and leaders.
- Provide relevant education and support to residents in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources.
- Design, develop, deliver, and evaluate research-based educational programs and make them accessible and welcoming to diverse participants.
- Provide technical assistance and expertise in the areas of agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources.
- Communicate effectively and positively with colleagues and stakeholders about the work.
Job Duties Include:
- Provide oversight for the Master Gardener program, which includes managing recruitment, communications, program planning, financial management, and ensuring their work focuses on education of others and aligns with state program focus and needs, as well as county needs.
- Provide technical assistance in agriculture, horticulture, and natural resources based on local needs and expectations, providing guidance and consultation in agronomic, regenerative agriculture and soil health to individual land users or groups of land users.
- Design, develop, deliver/implement, and evaluate local educational program offerings based on local needs and expectations, developing and maintaining effective county, conservation district, regional, University and state partnerships that support the development and delivery of Extension educational programs. Primary areas of focus include: agronomy, regenerative farming, water quality, and horticulture. The Extension educator will:
- Support and guide implementation of agricultural‐related priorities in the Otter Tail, Red Eye, Long Prairie and Crow Wing Comprehensive Watershed Management Plans in East Otter Tail County and Wadena County area, promoting practices that focus on water quality and improve natural systems to achieve these priorities.
- Coordinate and facilitate Farmer‐Led initiatives and activities that provide long‐term guidance and support through transition to regenerative agricultural practices.
- Develop and promote approaches to incentivize regenerative agriculture throughout the basin.
- Develop comprehensive natural resource management plans with agricultural landowners.
- Facilitate positive landowner relationships with local partners for implementation of conservation planning, technical assistance, and cost share/incentive programs.
- Adapt Extension programs for audiences with a range of knowledge, background, and cultures.
- Work in collaboration with entities such as Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), Health and Human services, Public Health, state and community colleges, and other community-based non-profits.
- Ensure that Extension programs, facilities, committees, and employment opportunities are accessible to new, diverse, and historically underserved audiences.
- Foster and contribute to a positive work climate with colleagues, advisory groups, audiences and partnerships.
- Collaborate and connect with other Extension and/or community resources to help support the diverse needs of the community, acting as a bridge between the community and other Extension/University resources.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Bachelor’s degree at time of hire. At least one degree in an agronomy-related discipline i.e., plant science, agronomy, or other closely related discipline
- Demonstrated ability to be innovative and apply knowledge to new/future programs that support and enhance the quality of life for citizens in the service area.
- Demonstrated strong oral and written communication skills.
- Teaching and facilitating informal educational programs
- Strong group facilitation skills.
- Demonstrated ability to create new educational programs based upon past successes or failures.
- A proven ability to develop and maintain effective working relationships and collaborations with colleagues, partners, and stakeholders, including those that may have diverse missions, goals, cultures (including Hispanic and native), socio-economic levels, ages, and backgrounds.
- Demonstrated commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Experience recruiting for and leading programs intended for multicultural learners.
- Demonstrated skill in Microsoft and Google suite applications
- Ability to actively engage in web-based communication, education, and training.
- Must have a valid driver’s license and own means of reliable transportation with required liability insurance.
- When not in the assigned office location, employees must be reachable with a mobile number at the employee’s own expense. That number will be published in the Extension staff directory.
- Must have reliable internet if/when working outside of assigned office location.
- Ability to maintain a flexible work schedule, including occasional evening and weekend work.
- Working ability to perform tasks involving sitting, standing, bending, or twisting, with occasional exertion of up to thirty pounds of force.
- Ability to work on a computer for prolonged periods of time.
- Must be able to lift, push, pull 15 lbs routinely and 40 lbs rarely as well as sit or stand for prolonged periods of time
- Must be able to travel within the designated communities and provide in‐person programming.
- Must be eligible to work in the United States; this position is not eligible for employment visa sponsorship.
- Experience as an agronomist.
- Experience managing volunteers.
- Experience developing and delivering informal educational programs in the areas of agronomy and horticulture.
- Experience teaching informal or formal educational programs.
- Experience using technology for communication, information finding, teaching and reporting, including evidence of traditional (newspapers, radio, television) and social media expertise.
- Ability to articulate public value of community based educational programming.
- Previous experience as an Extension professional or other related educational position (within agriculture or horticulture) is preferred.
- Experience using distance technologies and social media to market and deliver educational programming.
- A master’s degree is preferred.
- Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) status is preferred.
- This is a full-time, annual Academic Professional appointment at the level of Assistant Extension Educator (9625ST). The appointment is reviewed for renewal annually, with continuation dependent on performance, results, availability of county funds, and program needs.
- Internal promotion is available and meeting the promotion policy criteria to achieve promotion is expected.
- A full University of Minnesota benefits package is available: https://hr.umn.edu/Jobs/Applicant-Center/About-Working-U/Benefits-Working-U-M.
- Reimbursement for travel and subsistence is available in accordance with University policy.
- Salary commensurate with education and experience; estimated starting salary range $52,000 – $55,000.
University of Minnesota Extension is a major outreach arm of the University of Minnesota with a mission to serve the public through applied research and education. Our mission is to make a difference by connecting community needs and University resources to address critical issues in Minnesota. Extension strives to attract and retain high-quality, passionate employees, and weave diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of Extension’s programming and employee engagement. https://extension.umn.edu/