New York State: Cornell University seeks Organic Coordinator

31 Jan
The Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station (CUAES) annually funds and oversees a $5.1 million dollar annual budget in support of research in the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Human Ecology (HE) and Veterinary Medicine (VM), as well as an integrated program of research and extension in cooperation with the leadership of Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE). The CUAES also oversees a multi-disciplinary program related to renewable energy, climate change, invasive species and faculty leadership development of and oversees CALS’ extensive research farms, plant-growth facilities and forested properties located near campus and across the state.  CUAES is spearheading the college’s sustainability efforts and is leading several initiatives.
Organic agriculture continues to grow in importance across New York State and the nation.  This position supports Cornells expanding research in organics, raises Cornells profile in this important agricultural arena and contributes to industry growth. The position has two areas of responsibility- supporting organic research, teaching and outreach at CUAES facilities and supervising Dilmun Hill Student Farm operations.
The Organic Coordinator supports research and outreach at the organically-managed areas of the Homer C. Thompson Vegetable Research Farm at Freeville, Musgrave Research Farm at Aurora, the Cornell compost facility, and other Cornell organic research sites.  Regular weekly interaction with farm managers and researchers to discuss plot establishment, rotation, fallow seeding, plot assignments, equipment and labor needs, and improvements necessary to operate a first class organic research facility.  Responsible for keeping all organic research projects at Thompson and elsewhere in compliance with organic certification standards. This includes monitoring daily functions and proper recording of activities in the organic plots; such as approved pesticide use, seed sources, harvest records, and soil amendments. Coordinator addresses fertility and other soil health concerns through fallow year management. The Coordinator ensures that farm, field and greenhouse activities conform to National Organic Program (NOP) standards.  Instruct researchers on protocol and record-keeping.  Back-up labor support occasionally necessary on farms.
The Organic Coordinator works with researchers, extension educators and farm managers to plan and advertise outreach relevant to New York state growers, including apprising growers and other relevant audiences of organic research activities at Cornell, attending grower meetings, participating in training opportunities and keeping current with organic standards.  The Coordinator organizes, markets and participates in educational/outreach programs such as field days, conferences, and workshops for researchers, educators and growers focused on organic farming techniques on Cornell research sites and other locations. The coordinator maintains outreach and research databases, including a bi-annual survey of organic research and extension activity at Cornell and a database maintained for field days. Responsible for identifying and responding to occasional funding opportunities (grants, gifts, etc.) in cooperation with others or alone if appropriate. Coordinator develops and maintains content web pages and develops print materials for field days, publicity events and other needs relevant to the job.
The Organic Coordinator is the supervisor of all Dilmun Hill student farm employees and volunteers and is the facility coordinator for this 12-acre site, which includes maintenance and operation of facilities, buildings, fences and irrigation.  The Coordinator interacts with students in all aspects of student farm management and governance, including training users on safe operation of equipment, assisting student managers with land preparation, providing advice about pest management and cultural practices and participating in governance structure (Steering Committee).  The Coordinator tracks and oversees details of both on and off campus outreach and collaboration – examples are Manndibles Caf, CU Dining, Cooperative Extension, elementary school classes, CU courses, and community workshops.  The Coordinator mentors student managers on both technical and administrative details, provides guidance for individual projects and meets with each project team on a regular basis throughout the year. The Coordinator participates in farm managers meetings and training seminars.  Coordinator facilitates interactions among students and faculty, and encourages involvement of faculty in student initiatives. Coordinator develops and submits a budget for the operation of Dilmun Hill, oversees income and expenses, prioritizes equipment needs and ensures submission of appropriate reports. Coordinator ensures that activities at Dilmun Hill conform to university and college policies.


  • B.S. in Horticulture or closely related field with at least 2 years of related experience in organic farm operation or equivalent.
  • Familiarity with organic standards for crop production. Familiarity with experimental design.
  • Must possess and maintain a current NYS drivers license (a vehicle will be needed to move among the various locations).
  • Must possess or be able to obtain a commercial pesticide applicator certification within one year.
  • Experience with operation of farm equipment such as tractors, sprayers, irrigation systems, etc.  is required.
  • Ability to exercise sound and ethical judgment when acting on behalf of the University.
  • Experience working with and facilitating diverse age groups and stakeholders (farmers, researchers, community leaders, students.)
  • Ability to create an inclusive, high-quality and respectful work environment both in a team setting and independently to achieve departmental and university goals.


  • Masters in Horticulture or closely related field.
  • Experience and background in computer applications as they relate to research management and facilities management.
  • Experience as an outreach coordinator or related field in order to better accomplish outreach component.
  • Mechanical/fabrication aptitude.
  • Management experience or experience working with college students.
  • Experience facilitating groups and with experiential education a plus.
Background check may be required. No relocation assistance is provided for this position.
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
Developing Leaders. Improving Lives. Shaping the Future.
Cornell University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer.

Job: Research Support
Primary Location:
Requisition Number: 14146
Organization: CU Agricultural Experiment Sta
Schedule: Full-time
Job Type: Standard
Overtime Status: Exempt

Contact Name: Mary Ellen Niederhofer
Number of Openings: 1

Recruiting Range: $43,040- $52,605
University Job Title: Research Support Specialist I
Level: E
Sector: Contract College &nbps;

For more information:

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