Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations

New York, United States
Salary Not specified
Mar 17, 2021
Employment Level
Employment Type
Full Time

Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations

Cornell AgriTech

Geneva, NY 14456


Position Summary:

The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) is a pioneer of purpose-driven science and Cornell University’s second-largest college. We work across disciplines to tackle the challenges of our time through world-renowned research, education, and outreach. The questions we probe and the answers we seek focus on three overlapping concerns: natural and human systems; food, energy, and environmental resources; and social, physical, and economic well-being.


Cornell AgriTech located in Geneva, New York is an integral part of Cornell CALS and works to improve the health of the people, environment and economy of New York State and beyond, through innovative food and agricultural science.


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations provides leadership for Cornell AgriTech’s research farm and plant growth (greenhouses, growth chambers) operations in support of the research, extension, and teaching functions of AgriTech. The research farms encompass 900 acres used for agronomic, vegetable, vineyard and orchard studies. The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations oversees the research farm staff which consists of approximately 12 farm and administrative personnel and provides direction for the Plant Growth Facilities Supervisor.


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations will provide the leadership required to realize state of the art farm and plant growth facilities that support the research, extension, and education mission of AgriTech. This will be done within a culture of sustainability to serve as a model with respect to environmental stewardship and sustainable agricultural practices. This position reports to the Director of Facilities at Cornell AgriTech and to the Associate Director of AgriTech. 


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations will provide strategic planning for farm operations and infrastructure to ensure AgriTech’s continued role as a world leader in agricultural research. This includes further development and continued growth of AgriTech’s organic farm, deployment of infrastructure to support digital agriculture research, and further development of protected agriculture facilities.


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations will facilitate the continued training and professional development of AgriTech’s Farm Research Unit employees.


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations ensures operational compliance with a variety of College and University policies and procedures. (Title) plans, develops, and directs the operating budget of farm and plant growth facility operation in conjunction with the Director of Facilities, the Associate Director for Business Operations, and AgriTech Leadership. The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations establishes and sustains effective and positive working relationships with other AgriTech and Cornell units, including faculty, staff facilities personnel, environmental health and safety, finance, and human resources. The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations interacts with departments and units across AgriTech, CALS, and the university and especially with the Cornell University Agricultural Experiment Station, which also manages research farms and plant growth facilities across New York State. The position also engages with an array of external audiences, including private businesses, state and federal agencies, CALS Communications, and other academic institutions in New York and beyond.


The Associate Director for Agriculture Research Operations will ensure responsible farm and plant growth facility operations in compliance with federal, state, and local laws/regulations, Cornell Environmental Health and Safety guidelines, and college and university requirements including infectious disease protocols.


This position is full-time (40 hours/week) and will be located in Geneva, New York.


Required Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree and 5+ or more years of diverse field experience with 5+ years of increasing responsibility in management and field operations
  • Knowledge of best management practices for crop, soil, and pest management and other sustainable agricultural practices.
  • Previous work experience with research farms and facilities, including tractor and other equipment operation.
  • Proven success as a personnel manager, leader of teams, and change agent.
  • Knowledge of and experience with research goals and methodology.
  • Experience and background in standard computer applications (e.g. Microsoft suite) as they relate to agricultural and facilities management are desirable.
  • Previous experience in planning, implementing, and managing large projects.
  • Strong budget development and management skills.
  • Exceptional communication skills: speaking and writing.
  • Strong supervisory skills.
  • Demonstrated commitment to staff development and training.
  • Proven ability to build and sustain positive and collaborative working relationships with a wide range of constituents.
  • Outstanding commitment to quality assurance and customer service.
  • Strong ability to translate priorities into field decisions.
  • Demonstrated ability to be a strategic and forward thinker.
  • Demonstrated ability to anticipate, perceive, diagnose, prioritize, and remedy problems.
  • Must be able to meet the travel requirements of the position, and have reliable transportation as well as have and maintain a valid and unrestricted New York State driver’s license.
  • Some light travel is required with possible overnight stays.
  • Ability to lift up to 50 pounds.
  • Must be safety oriented; know, understand, adhere, and train others to conform to all safety requirements and


Preferred Qualifications:

  • Master's Degree in Agriculture, Horticulture, or closely related.
  • New York State Commercial Pesticide Applicator Certification (category 1A or 3A).
  • Leadership development training.
  • No relocation assistance is provided.
  • No visa sponsorship is provided.


Contact Name:

Jessica Townley


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