The Kansas Rural Center is seeking a part-time Program Manager for its “Tunnel to Table: Increasing Ks. Specialty Crop Production and Profitability with High Tunnels” Project. Dan Phelps, our KRC staff person who was to lead this project, has taken a position in California starting the end of November. KRC is seeking to replace him before he and his family leave, so he can impart knowledge and advice to his successor.
This position will conduct research on growing systems in high tunnel production, gather existing data on high tunnel economics, and work with five case study farms to gather data on working high tunnel farms. This information will be published in a guide “Growing Under Cover 2.0”, a publication or in-depth manual focusing on high tunnel production and economics/profitability.
The position will be responsible for ensuring that the program goals are achieved and delivered as planned. In this project, KRC will work with our partners, the case study farms in this project, and experts around the country to gather data to develop a manual and other educational materials helpful to Kansas tunnel growers. The Program Manager will work closely with the other KRC staff and an advisory team to:
- Develop expertise in the topic area (high tunnel production); gather and document existing data on the various growing systems used in high tunnel production; gather and document existing data on high tunnel economics; attend a farm training conference and online course, and webinars.
- Oversee research and record keeping of Case Study Farms involved with the project. Review, organize, and analyze data. Create documentation of results and develop interactive online tools.
- Assist in one high tunnel construction workshop and educational webinar.
- Produce and distribute educational materials including Growing Under Cover 2.0, a publication/manual focusing on high tunnel production and economics, as well as online interactive tools.
- Develop program evaluation metrics;create and implement measurement tools, working closely with KRC Executive and Program directors
The project is a one-year project building on the success of a previous “Tunnel to Table” project to provide Kansas specialty crop producers with information and educational opportunities on polytunnel production. That project resulted in a manual “Growing Under Cover” with the basics of high tunnel production (selection, location, types of crops, etc.) and a series of workshops around the state. (Check out the report at http://kansasruralcenter.org/growing-under-cover/)
Many growers are becoming aware of the benefits of high tunnels - yet KRC and its partners (including K-State Research & Extension) repeatedly find a lack of Kansas-specific information and support on how these structures can be best utilized for maximum productivity and profitability.
USDA programs have raised awareness and provided cost-share assistance for construction of high tunnels. In the first four years of the NRCS Seasonal High Tunnels Initiative, 99 high tunnels were erected in Kansas. Yet, many farmers found that once their tunnels were constructed they had a huge learning curve on how to make money from them - without adequate Kansas-specific models and data, it will take years to fully realize those tunnel’s potential in the state.
There is a serious need to gather more data in Kansas and make the findings readily available to Kansas farmers and farm service providers - including best production practices for ensuring Kansas high tunnels are as productive and profitable as possible.
* Self-starter with good people skills and ability to set priorities and carry through on their own.
* Team player.
* Must have excellent oral and written communication skills.
* Computer experience and knowledge of Excel and Word are necessary; desktop publishing experience helpful.
* Must have practical knowledge of specialty crop production and high tunnel or polytunnel production.
* College degree a plus but not necessary, and background in agronomy, horticulture, agricultural economics, or other agricultural science related field is critical.
* Demonstrated interest in and commitment to sustainable agriculture and a sustainable food system is a must.
Terms of Employment
The KRC maintains a virtual office with all staff and contractors working from home-based offices. The Program Manager will be under supervision of the KRC Executive Director.
This is a part-time position (35% FTE) for one year.
Whether a regular staff position or a contractual position can be negotiated. Travel and work related expenses are covered by KRC.
Ideal for specialty crop farmer looking for part-time off-farm work, or college student or part-time instructor in horticulture or ag related field.
Start Date: Negotiable; Prefer by November 30, 2015.
Application Deadline: November 9, 2015.
To Apply: Send letter of application, resume, writing sample and at least three references to:
Mary Fund, Executive Director,
4021 SW 10th Ave. #337
Topeka, Ks. 66604,
or e-mail to Mary Fund at firstname.lastname@example.org .
-The Kansas Rural Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.-