Extension Field Specialist, Food & Agriculture, Coös County
This position is based at UNH Extension’s Coös County office in Lancaster, NH.
Food and Agriculture Field Specialists deliver research-based educational programs and technical assistance to farmers, agricultural business owners, communities, and individuals interested in agriculture.
The Coös County Food and Agriculture Field Specialist, individually and in cooperation with UNH Extension colleagues and the Coös County Extension Advisory Council, determines educational needs of agriculture clientele and develops educational programs to meet these needs. The Field Specialist collaborates with a team of State and Field Specialists specializing in diverse areas of agricultural production and business management on all aspects of developing and implementing innovative, relevant, and impactful programming, including needs prioritization, writing curriculum, marketing, implementation, evaluation and reporting.
UNH Extension maintains relationships of support and respect with state and federal agencies such as NH Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food and the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service and collaborates with non-profit organizations such as NH Farm Bureau Federation, NH Dairy Practices Committee, NH Vegetable & Berry Growers Association, NH Plant Growers Association, and the NH Association of Conservation Districts. In partnership with these and other agencies and organizations, UNH Extension’s Food and Agriculture Program works to build profitable and sustainable local agriculture.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Demonstrate subject matter competence in agricultural topics of significance in Coös County and the region, including but not limited to livestock and crop production. Contribute subject matter expertise to support colleagues, clients, and programs statewide.
- Work independently and with a team of Extension State and Field Specialists to support, plan, develop, implement, and evaluate innovative, relevant, and impactful educational programs that enhance the profitability and sustainability of agriculture and farm-based businesses in Coös County and statewide.
- Serve on Extension’s dairy, forage and livestock management AoE (area of expertise team) or the agricultural business management AoE.
- Provide formal and informal education to the agricultural community by organizing and implementing educational events including workshops, seminars, field tours, and grower meetings.
- Disseminate current research-based information to clients through development of fact sheets, articles, newsletters, and other print and web-based resources.
- Provide one-on-one instruction and technical assistance to farms and agricultural businesses of all sizes throughout the county to improve quality, sustainability, and profitability of products and services.
- Connect agricultural businesses with appropriate Extension staff and programs as appropriate when client needs fall outside the field specialist’s area of expertise.
- Connect home gardeners and other community members with the services of UNH Extension, including the Master Gardener program and the Education Center & InfoLine.
- Involve the Coös County Extension Advisory Council and local agricultural agencies and organizations in educational needs assessment and program development.
- Make effective and innovative use of media and computer technologies in educational program development and delivery and in disseminating information to the public.
- Independently and with work teams, prepare appropriate programmatic reports required by UNH Extension, Coös County Government, partners and funders.
- Ensure programmatic involvement of under-served and under-represented audiences and that all educational programming is designed and conducted in full accordance with civil rights, Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), Affirmative Action (AA) and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) policies and procedures.
Engagement, Outreach and Communication
- Develop partnerships with local and state agricultural agencies and organizations.
- Build productive working relationships with Extension colleagues in New Hampshire and in other states.
- Build and maintain relationships with UNH faculty in the College of Life Science and Agriculture and the NH Agricultural Experiment Station.
- Contribute to county, regional and statewide marketing strategies to promote UNH Extension and its programs in accordance with good public relations and the organization's established marketing policies.
- Develop and implement strategies to expand the reach of Extension programming to under-served audiences
- Strive for productive relationships with elected and appointed officials.
- Demonstrate effective interpersonal verbal and written skills.
- Demonstrate effective problem-solving skills.
- Maintain regular communication with the Program Team Leader and Area of Expertise Chairperson (an appointed Extension colleague who leads the Field Specialist’s work team). Keep them fully apprised of programs, needs and accomplishments and involve them in programs to address these needs as appropriate.
Organizational Leadership and Support
- Serve on internal and external boards and committees at the county, state or multistate level, as appropriate.
- Welcome new UNH Extension staff and engage in their success. Serve in a mentor capacity as needed and where appropriate. Provide input into the evaluation of co-workers.
- Serve as the UNH Extension Coös County Office Administrator (COA) when the need is identified and as advised by the Program Team Leader and UNH Extension Administration. When it is another colleagues’ time to serve as COA, support that person in the performance of her/his duties and carry out appropriately delegated responsibilities.
- Seek external funds to enhance educational goals and/or participate in grant-funded projects with Extension colleagues and UNH faculty when funding aligns with program priorities.
- Utilize sound management strategies with county and state funding to enhance delivery of effective programs and provide assistance to clients.
- Develop and implement a Professional Development Plan to maintain and enhance competence in appropriate agriculture subject areas and professional skills such as leadership, group process and facilitation, use of technology and instructional design.
Minimum Acceptable Qualifications
- Applicant must have academic preparation in agriculture with course work in plant and/or animal science. At least one degree must be in an agricultural field from an accredited institution. Applicants with a Bachelor of Science degree in an appropriate field and three years relevant experience may be considered contingent upon agreement to obtain a Master’s degree within seven years of employment.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Ability to work effectively and cooperatively with coworkers and clients with a variety of values and interests and of all ages, ethnic backgrounds, income and education levels.
- Demonstrated evidence of good judgment, flexibility, and innovative problem solving skills.
- Demonstrated competency in presenting educational programs.
- Demonstrated willingness to learn on an ongoing basis.
- Ability to accomplish year-round field work.
- Demonstrated competency with computers and current technology.
- Possess the ability to work with minimum supervision, handle multiple demands, and set priorities.
- Be willing and able to travel frequently, locally and statewide. Mileage will be reimbursed at the federal rate.
- Be available to work some nights and weekends.
Other Preferred Qualifications
- Experience or familiarity with Extension programs.
- Demonstrate a high degree of subject matter competence in livestock production, forage crop production, or other agricultural subjects of significance to farms in Coös County.
- Have experience in farming and have familiarity with agriculture in Coös County.
- Have demonstrated competency in assessing industry needs and developing high-quality educational programs to meet those needs.
The University System of New Hampshire is an Equal Opportunity/Equal Access/Affirmative Action employer. The University System is committed to creating an environment that values and supports diversity and inclusiveness across our campus communities and encourages applications from qualified individuals who will help us achieve this mission. The University System prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, veteran status, or marital status. Application by members of all underrepresented groups is encouraged. Hiring is contingent upon eligibility to work in the U.S.