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Extension Specialist-Fixed

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Back to search results Apply now Job no: 641088
Work type: Extension, Faculty/Academic Staff
Major Administrative Unit / College: Michigan State University Extension
Department: Extension Agriculture And Agribusiness 10058940
Salary: Salary Commensurate with Experience
Location: Clarksville, Kent
Categories: Full Time (90-100%), Extension Program Associate-EXPA, Fixed Term Academic Staff, MSU Extension- EXPA, Advising/Counseling, Agriculture, Education/Training, Research/Scientific, Non-Union

Working/Functional Title

Apple Production Specialist

Position Summary

As part of MSU Extension (MSUE), the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute and MSU AgBioResearch, this position provides local and statewide leadership, educational programming expertise and completes applied research in apple production. The position will be based in Kent County with an expectation to complete programming and research locally and at the Clarksville Research Center located in Clarksville, Michigan.

Michigan is the 3rd leading apple producing state in the U.S. and this position is located in a major apple production region in Michigan. The position will conduct Extension programming and research germane to the apple industry and work with apple growers within the region and statewide as needed.  The successful applicant will collaborate across work teams and Institutes including working with faculty, specialists and educators to achieve efficient, profitable and sustainable apple production and overall advancement for the Michigan apple industry.

In this position, you will also design, implement and evaluate educational programming based on basic and applied research addressing the needs of Michigan growers. You will secure intra- and extramural grant funding to support your research and Extension programs; ensure dissemination of research-based information through various methods, including multi-media, social media, personal education and written articles; provide growers, processors and agri-business professionals with the knowledge to profitably produce their crop while minimizing environmental impact; and, serve as an informational resource for MSU Personnel and clientele.   

Characteristic Duties/Responsibilities

  • Develop, conduct and evaluate innovative research-based educational programs that meet current and projected needs of apple growers, processors, and agri-business professionals.
  • Develop an innovative, and forward-thinking applied apple research program, intra- and extramurally funded, addressing contemporary and future industry needs. 
  • Assist MSU Extension’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute (AABI) and MSU AgBioResearch in determining research and programmatic needs of Michigan growers, through interaction with state commodity groups and associations and communicate those needs to county commissioners, campus-based academic units, and research partners.
  • As part of the planning, implementation and evaluation process for Extension programming, assess improved clientele knowledge on production management, as well as economic, environmental and/or social impacts.
  • Serve as an information resource for apple personnel throughout Michigan, and work with statewide AABI workgroups to effectively plan and implement relevant programming.
  • Collaborate with campus researchers in appropriate MSU departments (Horticulture, Plant Soil, and Microbial Sciences, Entomology, etc.) to develop relevant research related programming and collaborative research projects.
  • Author/co-author, produce, and submit research results, reports, and educational articles in appropriate venues including University publications and websites, industry publications, and scientific journals.
  • In concert with the MSUE work team(s), interact with federal, state and county agencies that support agriculture industries to determine research, demonstration, and programmatic needs of the region as well as the state, and communicate those needs to county commissioners, campus-based departments, and research partners.
  • Develop and utilize appropriate media methods to communicate current and timely information and relevant industry updates, as well as a schedule of current and future activities.
  • Actively participate in professional development opportunities.
  • Gather and report programming outputs and impacts to demonstrate program effectiveness and to guide future program priorities for MSUE and the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute.
  • Work to ensure that community needs assessments, program development and recruitment efforts include the engagement of Michigan’s diverse residents across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Create and promote positive public relations for MSU Extension, the Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute and AgBioResearch.
  • Understand and implement Civil Rights, diversity, equity and inclusion policies and procedures. 
  • Other duties or projects as assigned by the Institute Director and the Director of AgBioResearch.

Required Degree

Masters -Horticultue, Entomology, Plant Pathology

Minimum Requirements

  • Master’s degree from an accredited institution in a field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology or crop science must be earned by date of hire.
  • Background in apple production, and experience in horticulture practices related to apple research and education.  
  • Experience conducting research independently.
  • Experience successfully acquiring and managing grant funding and resources.
  • Ability to create and carry-out a project plan from development of initial concept to project completion and follow-up/impact assessment.
  • Strong interpersonal, oral and written communication skills.
  • Experience and proven ability working productively with a team.
  • Self-motivated with demonstrated ability to work independently in an office environment without daily supervision and/or coaching.
  • Proficiency in use of technology (e.g. web research, Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook for mail/calendaring, distance delivery/communication technology, etc.) for day-to-day work and educational program delivery, record keeping, reporting, team-based communications and overall management.
  • Experience with marketing/promotion of educational programs.
  • Demonstrated success in, or commitment to, program development and delivery to diverse audiences/communities including but not limited to race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences.
  • Proven ability in establishing and working with a diverse network of constituents and community members across race, gender, socioeconomic class, disabilities and other differences to assist with program development and outreach.
  • Understanding of and ability to implement Civil Rights, diversity, equity and inclusion principles and compliance standards.
  • Ability to lift and carry educational materials, equipment, etc. up to 65 lbs.
  • Ability to travel in local and surrounding communities and occasional long distance travel are required as a regular part of this position.
  • Transportation is the responsibility of the employee.
  • Other skills and/or physical abilities required to perform duties of the position.

Desired Qualifications

  • Persons with a Ph.D. from an accredited institution in a field of study related to horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, or crop science with a background in apple production. 
  • Three or more years of experience in Extension program delivery or demonstrated ability and skill in horticulture practices related to apple research and education (relevant experience acquired within the last 5-years preferred).  

Required Application Materials

Current resume/CV

Cover letter

Four (4) professional references, including at least two (2) current or prior supervisors

Special Instructions

This position is a full-time, fixed term end-dated appointment, renewable annually based upon successful performance and continued funding.

Summary of Physical Demands

Essential functions of this position include:

  • Ability to lift a bushel of apples from the floor to a table with an anticipated weight of up to 65 pounds.
  • Ability to carry a bushel of apples weighing up to 65 pounds a distance of approximately 20 feet to move from one part of storage to another.


MSU Statement

Michigan State University has been advancing the common good with uncommon will for more than 160 years. One of the top research universities in the world, MSU pushes the boundaries of discovery and forges enduring partnerships to solve the most pressing global challenges while providing life-changing opportunities to a diverse and inclusive academic community through more than 200 programs of study in 17 degree-granting colleges.

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