Are you passionate about the environment? Do you want to be a part of a cause that strives to maintain biodiversity, provides an alternative to ‘big ag’, and embraces family traditions and history? Based in the beautiful bluff country of Northeast Iowa at 890-acre Heritage Farm, Seed Savers Exchange offers a one-of-a-kind place to work. The city of Decorah is close by and offers large-city amenities in a small-town setting.
Horticultural Technician – Tissue Culture
Job Title: Horticultural Technician – Tissue Culture
Reports to: Seed Bank Manager
FLSA Status: Regular full-time
Revision Date: August 2014
The Tissue Culture Manager will utilize their technical skill and knowledge to facilitate Seed Savers Exchange’s mission of conserving agricultural diversity by maintaining the historic potato and sweet potato tissue culture collections, managing potato growouts and developing long term micropropagation storage strategies. The Tissue Culture Manager will also assist with plant pathology diagnosis, pathological screening, hand pollination, seed conditioning, and experimentation in the lab and field.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
1. Independently perform routine tissue-culture work in an organized and timely manner in order to maintain the health of the tissue culture collections.
2. Perform all tissue culture lab activities including, but not limited to, making media, performing transfers, inducting new material, cleaning test tubes, maintaining inventory records, entering data, organizing growth chambers, scouting for contamination, prioritizing transfer activities, inventorying supplies, and ordering supplies.
3. Evaluate short term and long term tissue culture methods, strategies, and protocols for efficiency and soundness.
4. Organize and carry out potato and sweet potato growouts including greenhouse acclimatization, field preparation, planting, watering, pest scouting, harvesting, and inventorying harvests.
5. Assist with disease detection and diagnosis in the lab and field.
6. Perform, analyze, and maintain supplies for ELISAs.
7. Assist with hand-pollination of corn varieties.
8. Utilize column blowers, vacuum separators, clippers, and screens to condition seed.
9. Assist with other seed lab, greenhouse, garden, evaluation, educational, and/or seed house activities as assigned by the Seed Bank Manager.
10. Work with the garden crew during times of heavy field needs.
11. Professionally represent SSE while interacting with members, visitors, board members and guests during informal interactions, tours, presentations, and workshops.
A well-qualified application will have the following qualifications and skills:
-Bachelor’s degree in horticulture or related field, or equivalent years demonstrated work and educational experience in horticulture.
-Experience performing all aspects of plant tissue culture.
-Proven experience working with limited supervision to manage all aspects of a full-time project.
-Strong analytical and creative problem solving skills.
-Ability to work in a complex Access database.
-Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences.
-Ability to prioritize competing short-term and long-term projects and tasks.
-Ability to be flexible with people and projects.
-Experience with ELISAs a plus.
-Experience with organic cultivation a plus.
-Knowledge of potato cultivation a plus.
To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include ‘Horticultural Technician – Tissue Culture Manager' in the subject line of your email. Review of applications will begin August 29, 2014 until the position is filled. Seed Savers Exchange is an equal opportunity employer.
Horticultural Technician – Field Operations/Seed House Support
Job Title: Horticultural Technician – Field Operations/Seed House Support
Reports to: Field Manager/Seed Inventory Manager
FLSA Status: Regular full-time; 10 months Preservation/2 months Seed House
Revision Date: July 2014
Preservation: Working under the guidance of the Field Manager, the Horticultural Technician will be involved in all stages of field operation and seed production activities.
Seed House: Working under the direction of the Seed Inventory Manager and/or the Customer Service Coordinator, the Horticultural Technician will assist with a variety of responsibilities encompassing all aspects of packaging, shipping, receiving, and customer service.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Preservation (April to January)
1. Executes all field operations including but not limited to soil preparation, cultivation, amendment applications, IPM and cover crop management activities.
2. Independently works to install, maintain, repair, and inventory pollination cages and pest exclusion fences.
3. Plans and implements cover cropping strategies
4. Maintain an orderly and function tool shed including organizing and inventorying supplies, and maintaining and repairing hand tools.
5. Scouts and identifies pests and diseases in fields, root cellars, and greenhouses.
6. Prepares, applies, and documents organic insecticides and fungicides in compliance with organic certification and applicator safety standards.
7. Train seasonal and permanent staff as needed.
8. Works with the garden crew to efficiently perform field tasks (hand sowing, hand planting, weeding, watering, fertilizing, and harvesting) in accordance with SSE standard operating practices.
9. Assist the Greenhouse Manager, Garden Crew Leader, and Field Manager in seed harvesting, processing, and conditioning.
10. Perform other duties as assigned by the Field Manager.
11. Conduct workshops and/or tours, as needed.
Seed House (February and March)
1. Basic Customer Service and support: Being knowledgeable about the Seed Savers Exchange mission, assisting members and customers with questions they may have and responding in a timely manner (via mail, email, phone, etc.).
2. Order Entry: Enter orders received via phone/mail/fax/email. Contact customers as needed regarding orders.
3. Seed Packing: December to March is the busiest time of year for seed shipments. Assist with bulk and/or retail packet filling as needed.
4. Order Fulfillment: Assemble orders and prepare for shipment. May also involve understanding of shipping software and operation of shipping computers/equipment.
5. Potato packing and shipment.
6. Other duties as assigned by supervisor.
Associate’s degree in Horticulture or related field, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. Applicants must have previous farm experience. Experience with organic vegetable and/or seed production preferred. All applicants must possess a valid driver’s license.
Ability to communicate effectively with other staff
Ability to work well in a fast paced environment with changing day to day needs
Ability to work independently and as part of a team
Ability to safely operate large pick-ups carrying trailers and wagons
Ability to operate farm equipment including tractors
To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three references to email@example.com. Please include ‘Horticultural Technician – Field Operations/Seed House Support ' in the subject line of your email. Review of applications will begin immediately. Seed Savers Exchange is an equal opportunity employer.
Or mail to:
Seed Savers Exchange
Attn: Karen Anderson, Human Resources Specialist
3094 North Winn Road
Decorah, Iowa 52101