Summer Position in Western NC Working with Organic Vegetables, Hops, Truffles, Herbs, and More

This is a picture of some of my staff last summer discussing how they are going to apply the floating row cover to the new field of organic cucurbits (cucumbers, summer squash, and melons) that they just planted at the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville. This year we will have four studies in the certified organic unit at that research station involving cucurbits, tomatoes, and lettuce. We also have stevia and truffle projects there. At our home base at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River we have studies on hops, woodland botanicals, Chinese medicinal herbs, and Echinacea. It is a lot of work and we need some additional help from May through about October.

TO APPLY FOR THIS POSITION YOU MUST GO THROUGH THE NC STATE UNIVERSITY JOBS SITE. HERE IS A DIRECT LINK TO THE POSITION: RESEARCH ASSISTANT. SOME FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ARE INCLUDED AT THE END OF THIS POST. PLEASE DO NOT CALL OR EMAIL (SORRY, JUST CAN'T HANDLE THE VOLUME THAT COMES IN WITH A JOB POSTING)

Here are the details:


This position is based at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River, NC. That is about 20 miles south of Asheville and 250 miles west of Raleigh.  The position will report to Dr. Jeanine Davis; see her website for more information on her program. This position will supply general field and office support to a number of projects.  Most of the time will be spent in the field working with medicinal herbs, stevia, broccoli, cucurbits, hops, truffles, and tomatoes. Tasks will include weeding, pruning, training, harvesting, grading, data collection, and general assistance with all aspects of the program.  Some office work will include data entry, photo management, copying and scanning receipts, etc. Both organic and conventional crops will be included. Work will take place at the research stations in Mills River and Waynesville and at farms in western NC counties.

This position is a temporary growing season position that will run from approximately May through October. The work schedule is 40 hours per week, Monday through Friday, usually 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.
 
The applicant must have a high-school degree (or equivalent) and two years relevant experience.  The applicant must be at least 18 years old so they can drive a state vehicle. The applicant must know how to use a computer and have experience with Word, Excel, and basic photo management.

We are looking for applicants with some experience working on a commercial farm, assisting with field research, and knowledge of medicinal and native plants. The ability and desire to do hard manual labor 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 a 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, and interacting with cooperators via phone and email.  Must have a good driving record. Must be a self-starter, reliable, prompt, able to make independent decisions, and work as part of a team.

FAQ for our summer positions: 
Q: I would like to take three weeks off in July to go to Europe (or wherever). Would that be okay?
A: We will try to accommodate reasonable requests for time off, but keep in mind this is an agriculture position and in the middle of the summer we are really busy. Asking for three weeks off in July would not be considered a reasonable request.

Q: I am a college student and need to go back to school in mid-August. Can I just work until then?
A: No. That would not work well for us. Many of our crops are not ready for harvest until late August or September. We need someone who can work the entire season from May through at least October.

Q: I am taking a summer class and would not be available until 10:00 on Tuesdays and Thursdays (or have to leave at 2:00 on Mondays and Wednesdays or similar). Can I work around my class schedule?
A: No. During the growing season we need this support position to be available from 8 to 5 everyday. We can offer some flexibility to accommodate occasional requests for changes in schedules but not a regular class several days per week.

Q: I really like gardening but I am afraid of snakes (or ticks or poison ivy, etc.). Will I encounter those in this job?
A: We work outdoors every day in fields, pastures, and the woods. There are snakes, ticks, mosquitoes, spiders, bees, poison ivy, thistles, multi-flora rose, etc. We also work in the sun all day long. We encourage our employees to watch for and protect themselves from harm. We provide bug spray. gloves, and sunscreen and encourage wearing hats and long sleeves. We try to control poison ivy and prickly plants and we watch for snakes. But the reality is, you will be working outdoors!

Anticipated Hiring Range: $10.00 to $12.00 per hour based on experience. 

Proposed Hire Date – May 1, 2015

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