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Student Farm Education and Operations Manager at Student Farm at Penn State - 12580

Job Title: 
Student Farm Education and Operations Manager
Student Farm at Penn State
101 Land and Water Building
16802 University Park , PA
Job Type: 
Employment Type: 
Job Description: 

The Student Farm at Penn State seeks a full-time Student Farm Manager. Under supervision of the Associate Director for Farm and Food Systems, this individual will help lead the delivery of educational and outreach services as well as manage the day-to-day operations of the Student Farm.

The Student Farm at Penn State is a rapidly growing, cross-institutional initiative of the Sustainability Institute’s Sustainable Food Systems Program. Production consists of ecological management of diversified vegetable, herb, and fruit crops, grown by student farmers, Student Farm Club members, and volunteers. Educational and outreach programming

engages 20-30 courses; dozens of community events, tours, and volunteer days; multiple student-led research projects, and 15-20 student farmers each year. Sales outlets include a Campus Supported Agriculture program, residential dining, and other Penn State units. The farm is 3.6 acres and includes field and high tunnel production.

The Sustainability Institute is charged with integrating sustainability across the university’s core functions of education, research, outreach and operations. We believe that diversity, equity and inclusion are core concepts of sustainability. Accordingly, the successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and to diversity and inclusion.
Any successful candidate will need to be a detail-oriented leader and manager who can work collaboratively with a broad spectrum of partners, who possesses excellent written and oral communication skills, a high degree of intercultural competence, an enthusiasm for working with students. The successful candidate will also need a willingness to work varied and non-traditional hours and will need to be prepared to travel to Penn State campuses and elsewhere as needs determine.

This position may require that you operate a motor vehicle as part of your job duties. A valid driver’s license and successful completion of a motor vehicle records check will be required in addition to standard background checks. Willingness and ability to work flexible hours to support night and weekend activities are required.

Diverse candidates are encouraged to apply. Penn State is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusive excellence that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusive excellence as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

This is a full time, exempt position with Penn State benefits that is renewed annually.
Salary Band: I ($38,988 - $79,908)

Duties & Responsibilities: 

Key Responsibilities

The Student Farm Education and Operations Manager is responsible for managing Student Farm operations and sales and stewarding Student Farm education and outreach activities.

Land and Facilities (40%)

Hire and manage a student staff of 15-20 students who will operate the Student Farm through daily work plans, project goals and deadlines

Manage daily facility maintenance. Facilities currently include more than three acres of land including open fields for annual crop production, high tunnels for year-round production, small perennial crop areas, a composting area, and equipment and tools used for classroom instruction, farming operations, and general administration

Ensure compliance with Penn State requirements related to administrative systems, processes, protocols, and safety. Develop and implement new policies to support day-to-day and long-term efficiency and effectiveness

In collaboration with the Associate Director of Farm and Food Systems, help plan and manage new capital projects and land use planning developments

Student Engagement, Education and Outreach Programs (20%)

Coordinate the delivery of sustainable food and farm systems educational opportunities through course visits, field internships, independent studies, and field labs

Oversee student volunteers

Lead and assess student engagement in meaningful and intentional active learning experiences

Lead teaching annual 3-credit AGECO 495 training course for student interns

Facilitate student-led research and design in farm operations and sales

Support overall program development and dissemination, and assist in development and evaluation of new programming on the farm and via market partnerships, including experiential learning for courses and interns

Program Planning and Metrics Tracking (15%)

Document relevant planning, production, sales, and programmatic metrics and data in support of farm operation and education goals

Gather and analyze data and provide input based on such data, as requested

Ensure compliance with Penn State requirements related to administrative systems, processes, protocols, and safety. Develop and implement new policies to support day-to-day and long-term efficiency and effectiveness

Course Leadership (10%)

Lead teaching annual 3-credit AGECO 495 training course for student interns

Collaborate with faculty, departments, and presenters to identify, design, produce and develop non-credit programs, credit courses, and degree programs

Support students and faculty advisors for on-farm student-led research projects

Manage Budgets and Sales (10%)

Responsible for developing the operating budget of the Student Farm, which includes supplies and wages; ensure sales-related targets are met

Project/forecast future budgetary needs; assist in identifying funding sources, and application and administration of grants

Other Duties as Necessary (5%)

Provide support to the program marketing and communications team as needed

This position requires driving University vehicles, and, once hired, the incumbent must gain PSU certification to drive a 15-passenger van

Education & Experience: 

Qualifications and Experience

Master’s degree preferred in a natural science, agriculture, education, or related area

Minimum 3 years’ experience with production-scale diversified and four-season vegetable farming, preferably with increasing levels of farm or marketing responsibility

Minimum 3 years’ experience in facilitating experiential learning in sustainable agriculture and food systems, teaching and mentoring others, and supporting student agency, initiative, and empowerment

Experience in leading teams with diverse skills, personalities, and job types; sound financial management in both grant-funded and for-profit enterprises; revenue generation and operational management skills including working with land and facilities

Highly organized, self-directed, and able to thrive in a dynamic, fast-paced work environment

Able to work in outdoor conditions that include heat, cold, and rain

Valid driver’s license and own transportation to the Student Farm and University Park campus

Pennsylvania pesticide applicator license a plus

Able to lift 50 pounds

Excellent interpersonal, written, and oral communication skills; proficiency with word processing and spreadsheet software programs

Application Instructions: 

To Apply
Please submit a cover letter, resume and contact information for two references through PSU Workday. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with candidate reviews beginning on March 22nd. See the full description and application instructions at:

Job Categories: 
Volunteers/Volunteer Management