Specialist - Outreach-Fixed Term

Sep 22, 2017
Institution Type
Four-Year Institution

Working/Functional Title

Sugarbeet Specialist

Position Summary

Title: Sugarbeet Systems Research and Extension Specialist (Fixed Term, 12-Month Basis, 100%Time) in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University. This is a full-time 50% Extension and 50% Research position supported by the Michigan Sugarbeet Advancement Coalition, Michigan State University Extension, and AgBioResearch.


Background: Michigan State University is the Pioneer Land Grant University and is a national leader in agricultural research and extension programming. An individual is needed to continue and further develop the ongoing applied research and outreach program for the Michigan sugarbeet industry. The position will be housed in Michigan’s Saginaw Valley Region that is central to the sugarbeet production area of the state. This Sugarbeet Specialist will interact and work closely with the Sugarbeet industry (Michigan Sugar Company), sugarbeet growers, agribusiness, and university researchers to translate cutting edge research into on-farm productivity.


Responsibilities: This position will work collaboratively to develop and disseminate information to the sugarbeet community through new or existing newsletters, web sites, social media, articles and bulletins. Outreach will include contributions to the planning and delivery of educational events (meetings and field days) related to sugarbeet management such as the Saginaw Valley Research and Extension Center Field Day, the Michigan/Ontario Sugarbeet Reporting Session,and the annual Bean and Beet Symposium and Trade Show. The individual will conduct and collaborate on applied research and demonstration programs with Michigan sugarbeet growers on important agronomic issues in the sugarbeet industry, including the application of new technologies, and cultural practices to optimize sugarbeet productivity and profitability. Key activities include:


  • On-farm performance evaluation of sugarbeet varieties

  • Coordinate the activities of Sugarbeet Advancement and the Michigan Sugarbeet REACh program

  • Collaborate with sugarbeet growers and researchers at Michigan Sugar Company, MSU, and other institutions including the private sector

The successful applicant will also work with growers to conduct on-farm research and demonstrations of important sugarbeet production practices. The position entails active participation with the Extension Field Crops Team as well as collaboration with MSUE Educators, researchers, the Michigan Sugar Company, sugarbeet growers, the sugarbeet seed industry, crop advisors, and the agricultural industry to translate cutting-edge research for Michigan sugarbeet producers. The individual will support research activities as principal investigator and as co-PI with funding from Sugarbeet Advancement, and other funding sources. Collaboration between the Sugarbeet Systems Extension and Research Specialist and Michigan Sugar Company and MSU researchers is essential. Extension bulletins, newsletters, factsheets will be published individually and in collaboration with Michigan Sugar Company and MSU researchers. 


Required Degree

Masters -Crop and Soil Sciences or related field

Desired Degree

Doctorate -Crop and Soil Sciences or related field

Minimum Requirements

Qualified individuals will have a Master’s degree or higher in Crop and Soil Sciences or related field.

Desired Qualifications

Excellent oral and written communication skills are essential and required. Crop production and farm experience is desirable and experience with sugarbeet is not required. Candidates should be familiar with delivery of research-based information using multiple approaches, and possess a demonstrated ability to work effectively with other researchers, clientele groups, and growers. An understanding of seeking additional funding and writing grants for research and extension projects is desirable. Basic competencies in statistical analysis and experimental design are expected.

Required Application Materials

Applicants should electronically submit: (1) A letter of application describing the background match with the above job description; (2) vision statement regarding goals in extension and research; (3) curriculum vita; (4) a summary statement detailing experiences with diversity in extension and/or research endeavors, any experience working with diverse clientele or mentoring diverse students, and an explanation of how they will contribute to our goals of inclusive excellence; and (5) three letters of reference to be sent directly to: Sandie Litchfield at the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, 286 Plant and Soil Sciences Building, E. Lansing, MI 48824 or by email to [email protected]

Special Instructions

Applications will be reviewed June 16, 2017 and will continue until a suitable candidate is identified.

Summary of Physical Demands

Required to lift and carry up to 50 lb. bags of fertilizer.

Summary of Health Risks

Required to drive heavy trucks, forklifts, tractors, and other farm machinery, including spraying equipment (fertilizers and pesticides).

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