Job Opportunities

Join the team at Heritage Farm!

For more than 43 years, Seed Savers Exchange, a non-profit, nationally-focused organization based in the Driftless Region on the outskirts of Decorah, Iowa (near where Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota converge on the Mississippi), has focused on conserving and promoting America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations. Seed Savers Exchange was a pioneer in the advocacy for preserving these heirloom varieties for generations to come, and is committed to keeping these varieties where they belong—in our gardens and on our tables.

Please email a cover letter, resumé, and the contact information for three references to jobs@seedsavers.org - include the name of the position in the subject line of your email. Applications may also be mailed to: Seed Savers Exchange | Attn: Lynne Rilling | 3094 North Winn Rd. | Decorah, IA 52101.

Seed Savers Exchange is an equal opportunity employer and enthusiastically encourages people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to apply. Seed Savers Exchange does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, mental or physical disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.

Current Opportunities:

Seed House Manager
Lillian Goldman Visitors Center Manager
Greenhouse Manager

Seed House Manager

Seed Savers Exchange is currently seeking a Sales and Operations Manager to join our team. The ideal candidate will build on the organization’s solid reputation and brand and continue to grow the organization’s online and wholesale seed operation. Currently offering more than 800 rare varieties of fruit, herbs, vegetables and flowers, Seed Savers Exchange was a pioneer in the advocacy for preserving these heirloom varieties for generations to come, and is committed to keeping these varieties where they belong—in our gardens and on our tables.

Reporting directly to the Executive Director and President of Seed Savers Exchange, the Sales and Operations Manager is responsible for the ongoing operations of the online retail and wholesale operations of Seed Savers Exchange. This work, which generates about 4 million dollars in revenue annually, not only supports the ongoing work of Seed Savers Exchange in its preservation of rare heirloom varieties of fruits, herbs, vegetable and flowers, but its distribution of seeds through online and wholesale operations helps the organization to meet its mission in keeping heirloom varieties growing and extant in gardens across the country.

Working closely with organizational leadership, the marketing staff, the preservation staff, and the farm operations team, the Sales and Operations Manager is accountable for the sales, marketing and promotion, internal operations, and customer experience that are at the center of the business model of the Seed House. The ideal candidate will have a background in business administration, branding and/or the online marketplace, will be comfortable leading a team of supervisors and their staff of 15 to 20 employees, and will have an understanding of NetSuite or a similar ERP/CRM operating system. An ability to meet targets and goals in each season along with a clear vision of long-range planning for the continued refinement of the business operation will be critical to the Sales and Operations Manager’s success.

Primary Role

Directs Seed House activities for Seed Savers Exchange by personally performing the following duties or through management of direct-report supervisors. Primary functions include determining product line, sales and marketing development, order fulfillment, retail website management, and customer service and operational oversight.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities
  • Key member of SSE leadership team, ensuring alignment of department activities with overall organizational mission.
  • Accountable for managing all aspects of commercial revenue streams relating to the Seed House, totaling approximately $4,000,000. This includes all seed sales, plants, potatoes, garlic, apple trees, and miscellaneous catalog items. Generates and sets reasonable sales expectations for each of theses areas. Meeting these goals is essential to management of cost of goods sold and loss of perishable inventory.
  • Is responsible, in conjunction with Marketing, Administration, and Preservation leaders, for the development of a brand and strategy for moving Seed Savers Exchange forward as the leading purveyor of heirloom and open-pollinated varieties in the United States.
  • Develops budget for Seed House, working in conjunction with the Executive Director and Deputy Director to meet financial benchmarks, relating to sales revenue, staffing, expense, and capital.
    • Monitors income statements at least monthly throughout year. Closely monitors revenue and expenses, and reports deviations from forecast in a timely manner to Executive Director and Deputy Director.
    • Oversees Seed House expenses totaling approximately $2,000,000. Identifies savings opportunities and incorporates operational efficiencies whenever and wherever possible.
    • Works with Operations team to determines COGS as percent of seed and sales revenue, identifies opportunities for improvement.
  • Develops and implements a Seed House Business Plan with long-term strategies for increased market share in sale of retail and wholesale product.
  • Consults with Inventory Manager and Field Operation Manager on the evaluation of need for contract seed production, versus growing on-site or with local growers.
    • Consults on quantities needed, adequacy/quality of stock seed, regional climate considerations, plant pathogen requirements, competitive pricing, etc.
    • Consults with Facilities Manager and Field Operations Manager on production plan for SSE farm.
    • Oversees annual identification of needs for outside production and formalization of agreements with those growers.
    • Works with Field Operations Manager and Inventory Manager, to develop and evaluate network of contract growers locally, nationally, and internationally.
  • Consults with Seed House Field Manager on coordination of seed house transplant production and offerings, offsite and onsite garlic and potato production, and apple trees, as well as shipping activities related to these products. Generate realistic sales predictions for acquisition and growth of these products.
  • Working with Seed House Inventory Manager, establishes and monitors operational procedures for activities such as verification of incoming and outgoing shipments, handling and disposition of materials and keeping seed inventory current.
  • Working with Facilities Manager, oversees inspections of physical condition of warehouse and equipment.
  • Confers with department supervisors to ensure coordination of warehouse activities with activities of other functions such as production, sales, records control, and purchasing.
  • Staff hiring and human resources
    • Conducts annual performance reviews of direct reports.
    • Posts positions (in conjunction with human resources), interviews, and hires personnel to meet needs of the department.
    • Monitors employee behaviors and work habits
    • Rewards or disciplines employees, as warranted.
    • Develops/updates job descriptions
    • Fosters employee development and team cohesiveness. Creates an environment of open communication and employee responsibility.
    • Redeploys staff as needed to meet seasonal and operational needs.
  • Participates in planning personnel safety and plant protection activities with the Facilities Manager.
Supervisory Responsibilities
  • Manage group of 6-8 supervisors with overall employee responsibility for 20-30 employees
  • Ensure sufficient leadership, development, oversight, and evaluation of employees.
  • Manages sales team for wholesale and retail Seed Rack sales, setting goals for revenue growth and metrics for measuring success as well timely reporting of revenues and projections for the season.
  • Oversees operational team and order fulfillment, working with Shipping/Receiving Manager, on the overall shipping and fulfillment operation and potential improvements in efficiencies of staffing and process.
  • Oversees Order Processing/Web Maintenance Manager on external and internal operations of the Netsuite system as it relates to Seed House operations, ensuring that it provides accurate inventory management, fluid web sales operation, and accurate financial data relating to seed house revenues and expenses.
  • Manages Customer Service Coordinator, working in conjunction with Marketing Manager on the development of protocols and messaging to improve the customer service experience, and on seeking efficiency of operations relating to customer service. Reviews metrics on customer service operation and determination of appropriate staffing and additional responsibilities assigned to this department.
  • Works closely with Seed House Field Manager on garlic, apple grafting, potato and transplant operation to manage inventory and sales of these items. Establishes reasonable sales goals for these categories and requests appropriate acquisition and growing of material.
  • Oversees Seed House Inventory Manager and works to set goals for packing and acquisition of inventory from external sources and that are grown on the farm. Ensures that seed packets are in proper supply and updated as needed.
  • Confers regularly with Seed House staff on operations and overall vision for the Seed House.
Inter-Department Responsibilities
  • Consults with Field Operation Manager to develop lists for on-site seed production.
  • Confers with management team on long-term and capital projects as they relate to the Seed House and organizational strategic vision.
  • Consults with Collections Curator, Field Operation Manager, and Marketing Director on the development and offering of new varieties for the catalog, aligning the Seed House with the organizational mission of preserving and sharing our garden heritage. New seed offerings may come from outside of the collection as well.
  • Confers with Apple Curator on the development of apple varieties for offer in the catalog and strategies for increasing range of offerings online.
  • Consults with Marketing Manager and Graphic Designer on creation of catalog, sales materials, and seed packets, as well as on advertising and marketing campaigns relating to Seed House operations. Scrutinizes current catalog, and proposes additions/deletions based on revenue opportunities, relevance to mission, inventory levels, etc.
  • Works closely with the Marketing Department on the creation and coordination of promotional activities. Evaluates financial effectiveness of past promotions.
External-Department Responsibilities
  • Develops practices which insulate the company from serious potential threats to department’s fundraising activities (risk management).
  • Consults with Farm Operations Manager and Facilities Manager on issues relating to the farm and general operations.
  • Performs other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.
Skills
  • Excellent computer (Excel, NetSuite) and record keeping skills.
  • Leadership and ability to foster healthy, productive work environment.
  • Ability to work with the Seed House team to manifest the vision.
Physical Requirements
  • Sitting at computer screen for extended periods.
  • Ability to participate in meetings and other organizational activities
Qualifications
  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field and five or more years of supervisory experience in production, marketing, and/or agriculture.
  • Strong aptitude for financial/accounting principles, spreadsheet manipulation, and performance reporting.
  • Demonstrated leadership ability, familiarity with HR, and good communication and writing skills.
Benefits
  • Paid vacation
  • Paid holidays
  • Paid sick time
  • Paid long-term disability, 401k contributions, life insurance, health insurance, and employee merchandise discounts

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Lillian Goldman Visitors Center Manager

Seed Savers Exchange is seeking a Retail Manager for the Lillian Goldman Visitors Center at Heritage Farm. Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization based in Decorah, Iowa focused on conserving and promoting America's culturally diverse but endangered garden and food crop heritage for future generations. The ideal candidate will have retail and merchandising experience, a basic knowledge of gardening and event planning, and possesses strong leadership and managerial skills.

The Lillian Goldman Visitor Center Manager’s primary responsibilities include developing a retail business strategy and selecting merchandise for the store that is in alignment with our mission, managing and training the retail staff, overseeing Visitor Center operations, and creating a positive experience to visitors to our headquarters on Heritage Farm. The manager will also ensure that the LGVC team offers excellent customer service to visitors and provides information about our mission and organizational history. Weekend work required.

For more details, contact Lynne Rilling at 563-387-5612. To apply, email a cover letter and resumé to jobs@seedsavers.org—include the name of the position in the subject line of your email.

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Greenhouse Manager

FLSA status: Seed Production Manager
Reports to: Full-time, hourly

Seed Savers Exchange is seeking a Greenhouse Manager to join our team. The ideal candidate should have a Bachelor’s degree in horticulture or related field and professional experience in a greenhouse setting.

Primary Role

The Greenhouse Manager will utilize their comprehensive knowledge and experience of vegetable crop production and greenhouse production to grow high quality transplants from over 40 different crop types each year. The Greenhouse Manager will also take a leadership role in SSE’s pollination program by managing insects for controlled pollinations. This position will also have a supervisory role in seed processing of collection regeneration grow outs (Preservation).

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Greenhouse Management (Preservation and Seed House)

  • Oversee and perform all greenhouse tasks including, but not limited to, scheduling of seed sowing, seeding, watering, thinning, pricking out, fertilizing, scouting for pests/disease/phenotypic irregularities, implementing IPM strategies, hardening off, and record keeping
  • Accurately document and communicate relevant information on seed emergence, purity, and pest/disease problems to the Seed Production Manager or Preservation Director in a timely manner
  • Source, order, rear, coordinate and release beneficial insects into greenhouses
  • Prepare and administer organic pesticides in compliance with safe handling practices
  • Maintain, clean and sanitize irrigation systems, greenhouse facilities and greenhouse supplies
  • Maintain accurate documentation of protocols. Update greenhouse and IPM protocols yearly
  • Train and prioritize labor of seasonal staff and other employees as needed
  • Regularly monitor greenhouse equipment to ensure that it is in working order
  • Order and organize all greenhouse supplies and materials

Seed Production and Crop Pollination Responsibilities

  • Support overall seed production and field activities during peak times
  • Plan, source, rear, and coordinate all insects for controlled pollinations
  • Incubate and release beneficial insects into greenhouse and isolation cages according to strict schedules and regeneration needs
  • Perform hand pollinations when applicable

Seed Processing (Preservation)

  • Coordinate and perform seed extraction, fermentation, cleaning, drying and conditioning for fleshy-fruited (wet seed) crops
  • Oversee and perform all winnowing and final conditioning, both wet seed and dry seed crops
  • Maintain accurate harvest and processing records
Supervisory Responsibilities:
  • Supervise and train staff in greenhouse procedures
  • Supervise and train staff in seed processing procedures
  • Assist with hiring of seasonal staff
Other Responsibilities:
  • Represent Seed Savers Exchange at conferences, event, and workshops
  • Work with education staff to promote seed saving
  • Perform workshops and/or give tours at Heritage Farm events
  • Perform additional duties as assigned by the Seed Production Manager
Job Sharing:
  • Work 4 hours per week in Seed House shipping room during peak season (winter)
Skills:
  • Exceptional planning and organizational skills
  • Exceptional attention to detail
  • Able to work in a fast-paced environment
  • Flexible attitude to prioritize competing projects
  • Good computer and record keeping skills are essential
  • Excellent oral communication and interpersonal skill
Physical Requirements:
  • Ability to lift over 50 pounds
  • Ability to work in temperature extremes such as warm greenhouses
  • Ability to stand, walk, and sit for long periods
Qualifications:
  • Bachelor’s degree in horticulture (or a related field) or have equivalent years demonstrated practical work experience and training in greenhouse production
  • A background in pathology and/or entomology is beneficial, but not essential
Benefits
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays
  • Health care, retirement and lifestyle benefits

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