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Research and Extension Associate in Organic Agriculture

Kentucky State University
Frankfort, KY
45,000 - 50,000
Posted Date
May 11, 2023

Job Details

TITLE: Research and Extension Associate in Organic Agriculture

DEPARTMENT: College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences

REPORTS TO: Principal Investigator

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 1, 2023



Internal Candidates are Encouraged to Apply            

PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF JOB: The Research and Extension Associate will serve as a support person for the Organic and Industrial Hemp Programs and will assist in developing, conducting, and maintaining research for the Organic Agriculture and Research and Extension program at Kentucky State University.  The successful candidate will also facilitate research on industrial hemp and Extension outreach on program-relevant information.   

SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY: The successful candidate in this position works closely with the principal investigator and a team to conduct investigative research, laboratory research, and field experiments to 1. Evaluate yield and performance of organic crops produced in an integrated crop-livestock rotation or in organic no-till systems in Kentucky; 2. Measure soil health indicators, water quality, and crop productivity parameters to assess system sustainability; 3. Evaluate the production, marketing potential, and sustainability of industrial hemp grown for fiber, grain or flower; 4. Assist in research on organic production in high tunnels. 5. Carry out laboratory processing and analyses of soil and water samples along with data processing.  This position is involved in the designing, implementing, and maintenance of laboratory, field, and greenhouse experiments.  In addition to farm production practices, it involves collecting, entering, and statistical analysis of data, assisting in developing manuscripts for publication, and training and supervising other researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates conducting research in the program.  Experience operating farm machinery (ie. tractors, planters, cultivators, tine weeders, etc.) is preferred.  Experience in organic, natural, or sustainable systems is also preferred.  Candidates with relevant credentials who are also willing to learn farm machinery operation and organic systems are also encouraged to apply.   


1.    Conduct experiments that examine organic production of grains, horticultural crops and industrial hemp in the field as well as high tunnel production.

2.    Compare costs and benefits of organic grain and industrial hemp production in organic systems in Kentucky.

3.    Compare summer, winter, and perennial cover cropping rotations in organic horticulture and field crop production. 

4.    Evaluate the production and marketing of industrial hemp for grain, fiber and flower in organic systems in Kentucky. 

5.    Manage an intensive grazing system with small ruminants incorporated into an integrated crop-livestock rotation.  

6.    Design, implement, and maintain laboratory, field, and greenhouse experiments. 

7.    Operate and maintain farm production equipment 

8.    Carrying out daily farm operations including planting, weeding, harvesting, seed purchases and organic record keeping.

9.    Collect, enter, and analyze statistical data.

10.    Assist in developing manuscripts for publication. 

11.    Train, supervise, and mentor research assistants, graduate, undergraduate, and high school students conducting research in the program.  

12.    Greenhouse production and maintenance

13.    Facilitating and Conducting informational talks and tours at field days, national meetings and other events

14.    Conduct laboratory work including soil and water sample processing and analysis.  

15.    Other related duties as required. 

OTHER DUTIES: The position will conduct other duties as required.

QUALIFICATIONS: Required: M.S. in Horticulture, Agriculture, Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Science, or related area.  One to three years of relevant experience preferred.


•    Knowledge on farming in organic, natural, and/or sustainable systems.

•    Ability to use a personal computer and a variety of related software applications.

•    Good knowledge and appreciation of program clientele.

•    Knowledge of research and educational capabilities of USDA and the Land Grant system knowledge base in the area of expertise.

•    Ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing.

•    Research skills.

•    Ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships

•    Ability to work independently

•    Ability to work in teams and supervise


•    Work involves operating and carrying field-based research instrumentation

•    Ability to carry at least 50 lbs

•    This job involves travel. The position will have statewide responsibilities.

Revised: 01/09/2023

KENTUCKY STATE UNIVERSITY is an Equal Opportunity Employer

The functions, qualifications, knowledge/skills, and physical requirements listed in this job description represent the essential duties of the job, which the incumbent must be able to perform either with or without reasonable accommodation. The Job Functions listed do not necessarily include all activities that the individual may perform. The College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences strives for inclusive excellence and is interested in qualified candidates who can contribute to this effort through their research, teaching, and/or Extension programs.




Kentucky State University is a public, comprehensive, historically black land-grant university committed to advancing the Commonwealth of Kentucky, enhancing society, and impacting individuals by providing quality teaching with a foundation in liberal studies, scholarly research, and public service to enable productive lives within the diverse global economy.

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