The Agronomist I is responsible for the development and production of Reiter’s agronomy farm operations ensuring economic and strategic success, implementation and use of agronomy technical innovation and science based decision-making while demonstrating best practices related operational activities such as irrigation and fertilization to maximize successful crop yields. The role contributes to innovative and sustainable agronomy farming systems and environmentally safe agriculture practices / methods for growing quality berries year-round.
Under the direction of the Production Manager, the role is responsible for all aspects of RAC’s designated crop farms, crop planning, ranch development and managing all aspects of the farming operation, including budget and profitability.
Day-to-Day Growing Management
Manage, with hands-on involvement, all farming activities, including irrigation system installation (drip for substrate and pipe and spray for soil) and management, land prep, planting, nutrient management and pesticide applications, disease management, pollination, pruning, plant rotation and harvesting.Work with Harvest, Operations (non-harvest) and Production Services for respective services needed.
Pesticide Management Program
Develop and implement organic program, in coordination with the Pesticide Control Adviser. Document application and results.
Fertilizer Management Program
Develop and implement organic program to optimize plant health. Document application and results. Using medium (including any solid or liquid designed to support plant growth) sample, test and analyze results to determine course of action.
Understand and encourage beneficial microbes to the root zones of plants enabling healthy, vibrant root systems that directly translates to higher nutrient absorption and optimal yields.Document application and results.
Comply with all labor laws, prime audits or food safety, company policy and workers safety.Work with Driscoll’s pathology in developing Reiter’s organic program.
May train and supervise non-harvest personnel such as irrigators and utility crews.
Learn and implement the latest and best current production practices from within the RAC organization, as well as from university and other outside industry resources; develop and advance knowledge and innovations that deliver competitive advantage.Engage all internal and external resources including universities, substrate grower peers, and the DSA and RAC knowledge networks. Communicate methods and results to peers and colleagues.Work with Driscoll’s in advancing the use of technology and scientific plant development.
Manage operating budgets; assess the capital budget needs; manage costs; and deliver expected profitability.
Recommend and implement best practices for optimum soil health.Determine and manage how growth medium responds to scientific management techniques thereby implementing it based on the results.Apply agricultural data and information into trends, reportable, actionable and sustainable methods.Develop improved techniques for measurement of growth medium, sampling, and similar technology through an understanding of the development of plant growth within the medium and how to utilize and encourage growth for the development of healthy plants through monitoring, diagnostics and testing. Analyze, document and interpret data on watering rates, salinity, pH balance and electrical conductivity (EC). Use results in decision-making.Ensure quality growth medium with the ability to identify contaminated or degraded growth medium and to develop plans that improves their biological, chemical and physical properties.
Prepare production data and any required crop information.Participate in weekly and monthly crop statement reviews.Communicate with Driscoll’s to ensure accurate estimates of crops and to deliver high quality berries to the cooler.Coordinate cold storage and removal of canes and additional field trials.
Substrate – Design and install automation and injection system.Implement climate, water use, and soil moisture monitoring systems. Manage the installation of the drip system, tunnel structures, and trellises.Soil – Use traditional pipe / sprayer irrigation systems.
Install, maintain, and evaluate horticultural trials. Report results and drive adoption. Focus areas may include trellis, pruning, tunnels, frost control, and plant date and source.Develop acreage study standards for management to support expansion of agronomy model farming.
Other duties as assigned.
KNOWLEDGE, SKILLS AND ABILITIES:
o Demonstrate a good understanding of agronomy and its application of scientific methods such as providing nutrition through growing via media substrate or soil on an ongoing basis, reverse osmosis systems, pathogens, etc.
o Solve moderately complex problems requiring limited judgment
o Supervise and coordinate the activities of other staff
o Communicate effectively (verbal and written) in English and Spanish, required
o Test and interpret soil chemistry for pH and EC and how to correct balances
o Perform statistical analysis on a computer
o Demonstrate outstanding stewardship and relationship building/management/interpersonal skills
o Demonstrate good financial skills in crop budgeting and planning
o Demonstrate a high level of organizational and time management skills
o Juggle competing priorities and changing expectations
o Demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit, create new and unique ideas
o Berry plants and how to maintain and manage them
o Principles of nursery management
o Agricultural software applications, equipment calibration, and medium and plan testing
o Substrate plant rotation/hibernation
o Substrate/soil drip irrigation, nutrient chemistry, and pesticides
o Proficient use of Microsoft Office Suite
EDUCATION AND EXPERIENCE:
Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural SciencesMinimum 2 years’ experience in production agriculture, berry experience preferredExperience in project management, requiredExperience in people management, preferredTravel RequirementsAbility to travel 95 percent of the time – ranch to ranch / 5 percent domestic and international
The relentless pursuit to delight our consumers and enrich our employees and communities
Equal Employment Opportunity Employer. M/F/D/V.