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Research and Extension Assistant Organic Agriculture

Kentucky State University
Frankfort, KY
Posted Date
May 16, 2023

Job Details

TITLE: Research and Extension Assistant in Organic Agriculture

DEPARTMENT: College of Agriculture, Community, and the Sciences

REPORTS TO: Principal Investigator

EFFECTIVE DATE: June 1, 2023


EMPLOYMENT CLASSIFICATION:  Non-Exempt                   


PRINCIPAL PURPOSE OF JOB: The Research and Extension Assistant will carry out field and laboratory support roles in the Organic Agriculture Research and Extension program at Kentucky State University.  The successful candidate will facilitate, conduct, and facilitate delivery of research and Extension programming on organic production systems, soil health, organic crops, industrial hemp, and best management practices.   

SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY: This position conducts 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 indicators of soil health, water quality, and crop productivity to assess system sustainability and facilitate decisions on management practices; 3. Evaluate the production, marketing potential, and sustainability of industrial hemp grown for fiber, grain or flower; 4. Assist in research on the production of organic crops 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 implementation and maintenance of laboratory, field, and greenhouse experiments, collecting, entering, and  statistical analysis of data, assisting in developing manuscripts for publication, and in training and supervision of undergraduates conducting research in the program.  Experience operating farm machinery (ie. tractors, planters, cultivators, tine weeders, etc.) and experience in organic production is preferred.  Candidates with relevant credentials who are also willing to learn farm machinery operation and organic production systems are also encouraged to apply.  


  1. Carry out tasks and processes that facilitate experiments examining organic production of grains, horticultural crops and industrial hemp in the field as well as high tunnel production.
  2. Carry out tasks and processes that facilitate experiments examining industrial hemp production in Kentucky.
  3. Compare summer, winter, and perennial cover cropping rotations in organic horticulture and field crop production.
  4. Manage an intensive grazing system with small ruminants incorporated into an integrated crop-livestock rotation. 
  5. Assist in design and implementation laboratory, field, and greenhouse experiments.
  6. Operate and maintain farm production equipment
  7. Carry out daily farm operations including planting, weeding, watering, harvesting, seed purchases, and organic record keeping.
  8. Collect, enter, and analyze statistical data. Assist in developing manuscripts for publication.
  9. Train, supervise, and mentor research assistants, graduate, undergraduate, and high school students conducting research in the program.  
  10. Greenhouse production and maintenance,
  11. Conducting informational talks and tours at field days, national meetings and other events
  12. Conduct laboratory work including soil and water sample processing and analysis. 
  13. Other related duties as required.


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


QUALIFICATIONS: Required: B.S. in Horticulture, Agriculture, Soil Science, Agronomy, Environmental Science, or related area.  Candidates with relevant experience preferred.


Licensing and Certifications           




  • 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 individually or in teams



  • 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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