Please help us circulate information about this position to folks who may
This position offers great potential for horticulturists interested in
supporting more sustainable systems. Michigan's agriculture and
horticulture is extremely diverse, and its grower groups have supported MSU
work in integrated pest management, seeking alternatives to pesticides,
protecting water quality, adding value, and many other tools that work
toward greater sustainability.
Berrien County, located in the extreme southwest corner of the state, is
located near Chicago and attracts many visitors to its "lake country". The
experiment station located there provides opportunities for horticultural
applied research and demonstrations. There is an active chapter of Organic
Growers of Michigan in the area, and increasing interest among conventional
growers in the potential for organic. Several farmers' markets,
fruit/vegetable processors, and wine tasting rooms provide some
horticultural marketing outlets. Extension agents in the southwest
counties work together well to support one another.
Extension Specialist - Sustainable Food & Farming Systems
May 30, 2000
POSITION: Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent
(Horticulture), Berrien County
OFFICE LOCATION: Benton Harbor, MI
STATUS: This position is partially supported by a grant from
AVAILABLE: August 1, 2000
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Extended to June 30, 2000
STARTING SALARY: Commensurate with training and experience
POSITION DESCRIPTION/QUALIFICATIONS: See below.
Apply by using the Web Employment Application process at:
Extension Agriculture and
Natural Resources Agent
Summary of Description:
Berrien County has a population of 159,209 (1999 estimate, US Census).
Approximately 54% of the population was considered urban in 1990 and 46%
rural (1990 US Census). The predominant economic segments are
manufacturing, agriculture, and service/retail. Berrien County is
situated in the most southwestern corner of the state bordering Lake
Michigan and the State of Indiana.
The moderate temperatures, soils, proximity to markets, and an
established agricultural infrastructure combine to make Berrien County
one the most diverse horticultural areas east of the Mississippi River.
Berrien County ranks second in Michigan for fruit production with 431
farms (19,635 acres) including apples, peaches, tart cherries, grapes,
and strawberries (1997 MI Ag Statistics). Both fresh-market vegetable
production and an expanding greenhouse and nursery/ornamental industry
make up other components of horticulture (1996 County Ag Statistics; MASS).
A major Michigan State University horticulture research and demonstration
center is also located adjacent to the County Extension office.
Provide leadership and cooperate in planning and developing effective
Extension educational programs in commercial and consumer horticulture
with emphasis on Integrated Pest Management (IPM), especially in fruit.
Plan, develop, implement and evaluate Extension educational programs and
activities that will:
1. Maintain a flow of current research-based technical and crop management
information to farm operators, Agri-business and related industries in the
2. Improve the skills of producers and Agri-businesses in the application
of research results to their production or marketing situation.
3. Motivate producers and the industry to implement actions that best serve
their own community and industry interests. Focus on efficient employment
of crop management practices. Work to develop and support agriculture
leadership within Berrien County.
4. Provide program leadership by collaborating with the County Extension
Directors, Agriculture Agents, Extension Specialists and the Area of
Expertise team to deliver programs to the horticulture industry in Berrien
5. Work with other Extension Staff to develop, carry out, and evaluate
leadership and educational programs.
6. Help Berrien County agricultural industries become more profitable
through the use of cost efficient production methods, adoption of cost
reducing management and production technology, and by increasing and
improving marketing opportunities.
7. Contribute to the effective use of agricultural resources as a part
of overall social, economic, and environmental development in the county.
1. Provide Extension leadership in reviewing and assessing the horticulture
industry situation in relation to the region, state, nation, and world.
Communicate and interact with related commodity groups.
2. Provide leadership to determine priority needs in the horticulture
industry in cooperation with local Extension staff and stakeholder groups.
Develop advisory groups or other structures for program development and
3. Provide leadership and support to the Agricultural Industry through
active participation in relevant Area of Expertise teams.
4. Communicate the Extension and research needs of the area to campus-
based departments, crop integrators, and research partners. Assist
departments and AOE team in determining these needs through interaction
with state commodity groups and associations.
5. Serve as an information resource for Extension personnel throughout
the district and region. Maintain and update databases of horticulture
producers to include: fruit, vegetable, ornamental horticulture, and
6. Provide leadership in planning and carrying out a well-coordinated
on-going informational program for horticulture producers and other
7. Develop Educational Initiatives, based upon program priorities in
accordance with local needs, advisory groups, and established policies
8. Assist growers in developing a strong farm financial management system
based on recordkeeping, cost of production data, computer assisted decision-
making and long-range planning.
9. Cooperate with other agents, with AOE team, with campus-based
departments, and with specialists in establishing, conducting, and
evaluating demonstrations and research efforts in the area. Cooperate
with other USDA, county, and state agencies that support agriculture
10. Keep knowledgeable, through farm and business visits, with the
problems and specific needs of producers and other segments of the industry.
11. Cooperate with county and campus based Extension staff in developing
and implementing programs for improved crop production and products
(including strategies for value-added products), improved management
decision-making, and overall advancement in the industry. Conduct
educational programming in proper pesticide use, storage, and safety.
12. Update producers on current and technical recommendations applicable
to industry through farm visits, one-to-one contact, and group
presentations. Provide farmers and other agriculturalists with the
results of unbiased research results in agriculture and other related
subject matter areas.
13. Regularly share plans and results with County Extension Director
and other appropriate Extension colleagues.
14. Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current
information about the industry to producers. Use communication
technologies (e-mail, FAX, Web Page, etc.) to keep producers aware of
current pest conditions.
15. Actively participate in the required conferences, in-service
education, and professional activities to continuously improve proficiency
as an educator and technical expertise. Submit reports, evaluations, and
other materials as requested by MSUE.
16. Facilitate interactions with appropriate industry groups and
associations within the region as well as on a statewide basis.
17. Work with appropriate team members to meet the natural resource and
public policy programming needs related to agriculture, environment, and
18. Work with Extension Council and other advisory groups for support of
19. Implement the directives and objectives of Equal Opportunity and
Affirmative Action regarding the availability of Extension programs.
Strive to reach a diverse audience and extend Extension programs to under-
20. Supports county nutrition education initiatives through staff
inservices about locally grown fresh produce.
Bachelor's degree (Master's preferred) related to horticulture with
focus on fruit. Course work or experience in entomology or IPM preferred.
Two years of Extension and/or Extension related experience. Experience in
improved crops management practices to increase profitability, reduce
undesirable environmental impacts, manage insects and diseases, and food
safety. Prior experiences in conducting programs related to Integrated
Pest Management, Integrated Crop Management and value-added products
preferred. Knowledge of farm management practices such as farm labor,
records, financial planning, marketing channels and organizations
preferred. Demonstrated leadership and management abilities. Ability to
accept and delegate responsibility. Demonstrated drive and initiative.
Effective oral and written communication skills. Proficient in the use
of computers and current technologies for use in educational programming
and management. Ability to work effectively with people of all socio-
economic levels. Ability to use a variety of educational methods
(workshops, meetings, demonstrations, media, computers) to help people
learn. Ability to communicate information effectively. Demonstrated
ability to work with farm families, other professionals, leaders of
organizations, including elected officials and agribusiness personnel.
Must have strong organizational and planning skills and demonstrated
ability to use support staff effectively. Positive attitude toward and
willingness to continue on-the-job education and/or training.
Demonstrated ability to present technical information in a program that
growers can easily understand and utilize. Understanding of and a
commitment to equal opportunity, affirmative action and diversity/
pluralism. Personal mobility/transportation. Upon employment, must
reside within Berrien County.
This position is responsible to the County Extension Director in
Berrien County. Interacts with input from the Regional Director,
appropriate CEDs and agriculture agents in counties served by this
position, Area of Expertise team, campus specialists, and other Extension
or campus department personnel, as needed.
Gary Glazier or Elva Hernandez
ANR Human Resources
Michigan State University
Phone: (517) 353-8696
Toll-Free: (888) 337-9465
Fax: (517) 432-4986
Michigan State University Extension employment opportunities are open to
eligible/qualified persons without regard to race, color, national origin,
gender, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation,
marital status, or family status. Persons with disabilities have the right
to request and receive reasonable accommodations.
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