Thursday, March 21, 2013

Hiring a Temporary Research Assistant for Alternative Crops and Organics

Are you interested in a fun job working outside conducting research on a wide variety of crops? This is a six month position in western North Carolina. Applications being accepted now.  Here is the job description. You must apply online at https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/21362.

Position:   Temporary Research Assistant
Wages:      $10-$12/hr
Position #: 11ASO28
Location:   Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Mills River, NC
Min Experience and Education:  Must have a high school degree (or equivalent) and two years relevant experience.
Required Skills: Must have experience with Word and Excel and basic computer photo managment.
Preferred Experiences, Skills, Training and Education: Some experience working on a commercial farm, assisting with field research, and knowledge of medicinal and native plants would be very useful. The ability and desire to work hard outdoors for long periods of time in all kinds of weather is needed. Individual must be detail oriented for reliable data collection. Individual should be comfortable talking with people at field days and grower meetings. Good photography skills are a plus. Individual will be expected to drive a full-size state pickup truck with manual transmission. Some use of personal vehicle will be expected, with reimbursement for mileage. Office duties will include electronic filing of photographs, entering data into Excel spreadsheets, preparing materials for displays and meetings, ordering supplies, and interacting with cooperators via phone and email. Must have a good driving record. Must be self starter, be able to make independent decisions, work as part of a team, and be very efficient.
To apply:  Include a cover letter and resume and apply on line at  https://jobs.ncsu.edu/postings/21362
Job Open Until:  April 15, 2013 or until a suitable candidate is found.
Proposed Hire Date:  May 1, 2013
AA/EOE: AA/EEO In addition, NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation or genetic information. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (919) 515-3148. Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree verified at www.wes.org. Degree must be obtained prior to start date.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Hiring! Organic and Alternative Crops Research Specialist in Western NC

I'm looking to add a new member to my team. This position is the lead research specialist in my program. This is a permanent position.  It is with NC State University but located near Asheville (in the mountains). I am looking for someone with strong plant pathology training. Our current projects are on breeding and variety trials with organic and conventional broccoli, hops production, Chinese medicinal herbs, heirloom tomatoes, woodland botanicals, stevia, Black Perigord truffles, Echinacea, organic post-harvest handling, organic cucurbit breeding, farmland transition, and natural products. Read through the blog and you'll get a good idea of what we do. Here are the specifics, straight from the official job announcement. You must apply online at the NCSU Jobs Site.

Title: Research Specialist (Position number 00061900)
Salary: Commensurate with experience (up to $37,620)
Location: Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center, Mills River, NC (near Asheville, NC)
Essential Job Duties: Serve as the primary support position for a research and extension program on medicinal herbs, hops, organics, vegetables, and specialty crops. This position will help develop research plans and protocols; conduct research; diagnose and develop treatment plans for disease, insect, and nutritional issues; make decisions about studies in progress; analyze and write up results; prepare and give presentations; co-author scientific publications and write grant proposals; supervise seasonal employees; and maintain inventories and budgets.
Minimum Experience and Education: Bachelor’s degree in a discipline related to the area of assignment; or an equivalent combination of training and experience. 
Required Education and Skills:  Bachelor’s degree in horticulture, plant pathology, crop science, or related field OR equivalent combination of training and experience. Experience with research in organic agricultural systems and a variety of horticultural crops, both edible and ornamental. Strong plant pathology background. Basic lab skills. Experience designing and implementing field experiments. Experience writing and publishing a scientific paper in a peer reviewed journal. Experience maintaining budgets. Experience with SAS, Excel, Word, Powerpoint, and Publisher. Use of pick-up trucks and cars; manual transmission.
Preferred Experience, Skills, Training and Education: A Master’s degree in horticulture, crop science, or related field. Two years of post baccalaureate experience with agricultural field research preferred. Two or more years of experience in agricultural research on organics, medicinal herbs, vegetables, hops, truffles, woody ornamentals, cover crops, and propagation. Experience with greenhouse production and research laboratory experience. Experience with the National Organic Plan and the organic certification process. Experience writing grant proposals, creating enterprise budgets, preparing Powerpoint presentations, organizing events, giving presentations in front of large audiences, and supervising employees.
Applicant Required Documents: Cover letter, CV, and contact information for three references.
Job Will be Open for applications until a suitable candidate is found.
Proposed Hire Date: April 8, 2013.
AA/EOE: AA/EOE. In addition, NC State welcomes all persons without regard to sexual orientation or genetic information. Persons with disabilities requiring accommodations in the application and interview process please call (919) 515-3148. Final candidates are subject to criminal & sex offender background checks. Some vacancies also require credit or motor vehicle checks. If highest degree is from an institution outside of the U.S., final candidates are required to have their degree verified at www.wes.org. Degree must be obtained prior to start date. NC State University participates in E-Verify. Federal law requires all employers to verify the identity and employment eligibility of all persons hired to work in the United States.

Our Hops Workshop was a Huge Success



The hops workshop on March 16th was attended by over 100 people and met all the goals that Kelly Gaskill and I had set for it. Our reason for putting on the workshop was that we were increasingly concerned by the number of phone calls and emails that we had been receiving from people who had (in our opinion) unrealistic expectations about how much money they could make growing hops. When a person called me and told me that someone locally told them that they could $195,000 per acre growing hops and selling them to the new breweries in the region, we knew we had to hold a workshop and let people hear what the real story was from experienced hop growers and a local brewer.  And that is exactly what happened.  Our special surprise guest speaker, Dr. Greg Lewis, hops breeder with a career of hops growing experience in several countries, was an extra special treat. I overheard someone say "He is a hops encyclopedia".

We were also very fortunate to have David Ackley write an article about the workshop. You can find that on his blog: Local Beer Blog.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Natural Products Alliance of NC wins an award!


The Natural Products Alliance of North Carolina won the Best Partnership award at the Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA last week. We are all so excited because we have spent so many years trying to build this support network for the natural products industry in western North Carolina. To get a recognition like this at the biggest natural products event in the nation is a real honor.  The organizations that make up the alliance include Bent Creek Institute, Bent Creek Germplasm Repository, BioNetwork, Blue Ridge Food Ventures, NC State University, Small Business Technology and Development Center, the US Botanical Safety Laboratory and the NC Natural Products Association.  The Alliance recently created the Blue Ridge Naturally seal which is managed by the NC Natural Products Association. To learn more about the seal, what it means to consumers, and how to get it for your products visit the Blue Ridge Naturally website. The project is supported by the GoldenLEAF Foundation.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

New Project Focused on Safety of Organic Produce

NC State-UT OREI project team 2013

A group of scientists at the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture and North Carolina State University are working together to improve the safety of organic produce – naturally.

Their study, “Alternative Post-harvest Washing Solutions to Enhance the Microbial Safety and Quality of Organic Fresh Produce,” began last fall.

The four-year, multidisciplinary project is supported by a nearly $2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) program. Dr. Qixin Zhong, an associate professor in the UT Department of Food Science and Technology, leads the initiative.

“The goal of the project is to provide safe, alternative, sustainable and effective treatments to reduce foodborne illnesses caused by E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella contamination in organic produce,” said Zhong.

The group hopes to provide those effective treatments in the form of alternative organic antimicrobials — naturally occurring substances such as organic essential oils that fight pathogens like E. coli — added to postharvest wash water.

“To improve microbiological safety of organic produce, there is an urgent need to develop washing practices that not only enhance sanitation effectiveness but also fulfill the requirement of organic fresh produce,” said Zhong.

As part of the project, the researchers also will evaluate the economic feasibility of their work and impact on the shelf life of various types of organic produce.


“The research team is very eager to make sure the outcomes from this project will be applicable to organic growers throughout the United States,” said Faith Critzer, a UT Extension specialist and faculty member of the UT Department of Food Science and Technology.

To achieve that goal, researchers partnered with a group of organic produce growers who will provide feedback throughout the study. In addition, the team will share research findings through webcasts, written fact sheets and a series of workshops held in Tennessee and North Carolina.

The UT Institute of Agriculture provides instruction, research and public service through the UT College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; the UT College of Veterinary Medicine; UT AgResearch, including its system of 10 research and education centers; and UT Extension offices in every county in the state.

North Carolina State University’s project team includes an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the Plants for Human Health Institute, N.C. Cooperative Extension and the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, all of which are part of the university’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences(CALS). CALS’ mission is to improve the economic, environmental and social well-being of North Carolina and the world.

Project partners include Dr. Qixin Zhong, associate professor in the UT Department of Food Science and Technology; Faith Critzer, UT assistant professor and food safety extension specialist; Dr. P. Michael Davidson, UT professor of food microbiology; Dr. David Lockwood, UT professor and extension specialist in fruit and nut crops; Dr. Annette Wszelaki, UT assistant professor and commercial vegetable extension specialist; Jonathan Baros, farm and agribusiness management with PHHI; Dr. Jeanine Davis, NCSU associate professor and extension specialist in organic crops; Dr. MaryAnne Drake, NCSU professor in sensory analysis and flavor chemistry; Diane Ducharme, GAPs program coordinator and extension associate in horticulture and food safety with PHHI; and Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie, professor and postharvest physiologist with PHHI.

Media Contacts

University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (lead)
Dr. Faith Critzer, Assistant Professor and UT Extension Specialist, 865-974-7274, faithc@utk.edu

North Carolina State University
Justin Moore, Extension Communications, 704-250-5433, justin_moore@ncsu.edu