Native Seed Farm Manager


Company: Institute for Applied Ecology
Location: Corvallis, Oregon
Compensation: $22.25-$26.00, DOE
Employment Type: Full-Time
Job Categories: Agriculture
Region: Mid Willamette Valley
Date Posted: August 18, 2020

How to Apply

To apply for a job, you must first sign up for the site.

About Us

The Institute for Applied Ecology (IAE) is a dynamic nonprofit organization founded in 1999 whose mission is to conserve native species and habitats through restoration, research and education. We fill a unique niche among nonprofits and work with a diverse group of partners including federal, state and county agencies and municipalities to accomplish our mission. We maintain an open and convivial office environment with approximately 24 regular staff in our main office in Corvallis, OR and branch office in Santa Fe, NM. We are committed to diversity and equity in our work place and the communities we serve. Please see our mission and diversity statements.

Position Summary

IAE is seeking to hire a Farm Manager with a diverse skillset to manage our native seed and plant farm operations. Our farm facilities are located in and near Corvallis, Oregon. Plant materials development and production work supports the conservation and recovery of rare plants (e.g., Nelson’s checkermallow and Bradshaw’s lomatium), wildlife (e.g., Fender’s blue butterfly and streaked horned lark) and habitats (e.g. prairie, coastal grassland) using a variety of restoration techniques.

 

Job Responsibilities

The Farm Manager develops, manages and implements native seed and plant production projects to support regional habitat restoration and listed species recovery efforts. The person in this position also assists with the development and maintenance of planning documents such as farm business or marketing plans, participates in fundraising and budget management, and coordinates and supervises volunteers, interns, subcontractors and/or technicians. In particular, job responsibilities include:

  1. Manage all aspects of IAE’s native plant materials production (40%)
    • Work with Program Director(s) to plan and coordinate all in-house native plant materials production at IAE farm facilities, including seed production fields at the OSU Farm, Forest Science Lab raised beds, OSU greenhouse facilities, seed cleaning warehouse, and other TBD locations.
    • Manage multiple farm projects, including developing workplans and managing budgets. Ensure completion of project deliverables.
    • Install and maintain seed production fields.
    • Ensure successful completion of plant and seed production, including plant establishment, irrigation, fertilization, and pest and pathogen management.
    • Harvest, dry, clean and store seed.
    • Grow plugs for field establishment or outplanting at restoration sites.
    • Assess seed labs and works with them for seed testing. Interprets seed tests.
    • Work with Plant Materials Program staff to manage seed inventory.
  2. Develop and maintain IAE farm facilities (15%)
    • Work with Program Director(s) and farm advisory committee to locate and develop farm-related facilities such as a permanent seed cleaning facility, alternate farm locations, seed storage, etc.
    • Maintain relationships with partners at plant material production sites.
    • Help identify, acquire, and maintain plant materials production-related equipment.
  3. Assist in creation and revision of farm-related business documents (15%)
    • Develop and utilize budget, labor, and plant observation tracking systems.
    • Work with Program Director and farm advisory committee to develop farm business plan and marketing strategy.
    • Develop annual farm budget.
    • Develop written procedures and safety protocol documents.
  4. Fundraising and project proposal preparation (10%)
    • Build and maintain relationships with project partners and collaborate on development of new plant materials production project concepts, budgets, and schedules.
    • Write or contribute to grants/proposals
  5. Operate, maintain, troubleshoot and repair equipment (5%)
    • Operate, supervise, and ensure safe use of farm and seed cleaning equipment (e.g. tractors, mowers, discs, and seeders) without supervision.
    • Maintain all equipment, tools, and storage areas. Perform most repairs.
    • Troubleshoot equipment problems.
    • Independently develop maintenance schedules and safety protocols.
  6. Supervise/coordinate staff, volunteers and contractors (5%)
    • Supervise and/or direct work of farm or plant materials technicians, seasonal or temporary staff, volunteers and/or contractors. Coordinate their work to perform all necessary tasks related to crop establishment, cultivation, harvest, cleaning, and storage. Participate in the hiring of technicians and other staff.
    • Prepare contracts, hire, schedule, and supervise farm contractors and work crews.
  7. Record-keeping and reporting (5%)
    • Assist in development of and utilize budget, labor, and plant observation tracking systems.
    • Maintain safety records and ensure compliance with regulations including pesticide application records and partner requirements for safety training.
    • Ensure quality control. Record, analyze and report data to document work completed and support adaptive management.
    • Write annual farm report and contribute plant materials production information to project reports.
  8. Other duties as assigned, which may include the following (5%):
    • Conduct tours, workshops, and presentations for funders, partners, and the public.
    • Travel out-of-town as needed (on average 2-3 times/year) to complete work program and to attend meetings and conferences.
    • Contribute content to IAE newsletter and webpage.
    • Engage in professional development opportunities.
    • Other duties as assigned.

 

Minimum qualifications

  • Minimum of seven (7) years of experience in horticulture, plant farming, native plant propagation, or related agricultural pursuit, with at least two years of experience planning and managing operations. A Bachelor’s degree in a related field may be substituted for up to two years of work experience. A Master’s degree in a related field may be substituted for up to four years of work experience.
  • Able to independently develop and execute operational plans for plant production from seed to container or through field production, including seed harvest, conditioning and storage.
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail. Experience managing and coordinating several seed and plant production projects simultaneously. Experience overseeing data collection, entry and quality control.
  • Demonstrated ability to operate, maintain, troubleshoot and repair farm equipment such as tractors, seed drills, combines, and seed cleaning equipment without supervision. Experience developing equipment use and maintenance protocols.
  • Advanced knowledge of seed anatomy and development. Understands proper storage and handling of seed and maintains storage facilities for ideal temperature and humidity. Able to visually distinguish seed from chaff, strong knowledge of what constitutes mature seed. Able to determine appropriate seed cleaning methods, including selection of most appropriate seed cleaning machinery, for a variety of native species. Ability to provide seed samples to labs for seed testing and interpret seed test results. Able to train others in seed handling, identification of mature seeds, and seed storage. Can recognize large number of species by looking only at the seed.
  • Able to identify majority of forbs and common grasses in work areas on sight. Able to use dichotomous key or other resources to identify unknown plant species.
  • Basic familiarity with seed certification standards.
  • Positive attitude and excellent oral and written communication skills.
  • Have or ability to obtain (within three months of hire date) an Oregon commercial pesticide applicator’s license (agriculture category).
  • Demonstrated proficiency with Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and Google Suite. Able to organize and manipulate spreadsheets.
  • Ability to work occasional weekends.
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds.
  • Current U.S. driver’s license.