Thursday, January 15, 2015

Help wanted: Cornell hiring beginning farmer project coordinator

The Cornell Small Farms Program and Northeast Beginning Farmers Project are hiring a full-time Project Coordinator for two new beginning farmer initiatives.

Job Description 
Beginning Farmer Project Coordinator  
Extension Support Specialist I (Band E/Exempt/39 hours week)
Department of Horticulture
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Ithaca, NY

The Cornell Small Farm Program (SFP) engages in research and extension projects and collaborations that support and enhance the viability of small farms in New York. This Coordinator will support the Northeast Beginning Farmer (NEBF) Project, a major SFP effort focused on beginning farmer training, their support networks, and informational resources. 

The department is currently searching for a Project Coordinator who will oversee all aspects of a USDA project designed to 1) facilitate military veterans entering into farming as a career, and 2) improve long-term viability of "advanced" beginning farmers (defined as farmers operating 3-10 years).  Facilitate the development and implementation of project work plans by collaborators for each component of the project, coordinate timelines, manage relationships, and synthesize evaluation data into reports.  Lead the outreach for the overall project, publicizing events and impacts of the project and collaborating with the SFP outreach staff to achieve these goals. Convene advisory groups for all aspects of the work.

The Project Coordinator will also implement specific projects to provide training for beginning farmer service providers and collaborate with other organizations and individuals to develop new informational resources for beginning farmers. Work closely with the SFP Beginning Farmer Project Manager and the SFP Director to insure participation and engagement of partners and stakeholders and share outcomes with other organizations nationally.

The coordinator will work very independently, making decisions to foster the success of the project and to achieve the desired outcomes. These decisions will often require creativity as well as a good understanding of the abilities and resources of project collaborators. Develop and implement surveys that will target farmers, educators and others interested in supporting beginning farmers, and help the collaborators use this information to modify work plans and tasks. Monthly travel and overnight trips to visit with project collaborators around NY state are expected.

The Project Coordinator will be a full member of the SFP staff and is expected to develop close working relationships with all of the other SFP Associates, participating in staff meetings and other SFP events.  Will also represent the Project and Program at state meetings and provide presentations to farmers and other stakeholders about the SFP efforts. Contributions to the monthly SFP e-newsletter and quarterly magazine expected. Responsible for supervising 1-2 undergraduate students and supporting project collaborators.

This position is renewable annually, based upon performance and funding.  The position is currently supported by  a 3-year USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) grant.

        Bachelor's degree in agriculture, communication, education, biology, natural resources, or related field preferred.
        Two-three years' experience in public education, either formal or informal, as well as demonstrated understanding of farming.
        Proven skills in project management and coordination are essential
        Must be able to work with diverse audiences and partners, both independently and as part of a team
        Excellent communication skills, including writing and public speaking.
        Good working knowledge and experience with current software, such as MS Office, Qualtrics, PowerPoint.
        Must be personable, flexible and possess excellent organizational skills.
        Excellent customer service skills and demonstrated ability to communicate with a broad range of people is essential. 
        Must have the ability to multi-task and prioritize.
        Ability to work well and establish effective working relationships with a wide variety of faculty, staff, and students while creating a high-quality and respectful work environment. 
        Must be comfortable working in an environment where change in process is the norm. 
        Must have and maintain a valid NYS Driver's License and be willing to travel with occasional overnight trips being required.

        Master's degree in agriculture, education, communications, natural resources, or related field preferred.  
        Minimum of 3 years of direct farm experience and/or experience providing services to beginning farmers strongly preferred.
        Enthusiasm for supporting entry into farming as a career is a plus

Background check may be required. No relocation assistance is provided for this position. Visa sponsorship is not available for this position.