Extension Agent I - IV – Agriculture and Commercial Horticulture (79342)

Job Posted 8/23/2023
University of Florida
Live Oak, FL
United States
Category Farming Jobs
Job Description

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences is committed to creating an environment that affirms diversity across a variety of dimensions, including ability, class, ethnicity/race, gender identity and expression. We particularly welcome applicants who can contribute to such an environment through their scholarship, teaching, mentoring, and professional service. We strongly encourage historically underrepresented groups to apply.


If an accommodation due to a disability is needed to apply for this position, please call 352-392-2477 or the Florida Relay System at 800-955-8771 (TDD) or visit Accessibility at UF .


The Univ. of Florida (UF) is a Land Grant institution with core values of unique purpose, excellence, integrity, collaboration and partnership, lifelong learning, diversity, responsiveness, innovation, communication, and global reach. IFAS employs more than 2,000 faculty and staff statewide. IFAS Extension employs 375 Extension Agents and has an office in each of Florida’s 67 counties.


Our mission in the Florida Cooperative Extension Service is to partner with communities to provide quality, relevant education and research-based expertise to foster healthy people, a healthy environment, and a healthy economy. We are the resource that helps educate Floridians to address issues related to agriculture, horticulture, natural resources, youth development, families and communities.


We are looking for candidates with both academic and people skills who work well in teams, honor their commitments, and innovate in a rapidly changing world. As an Extension Agent you will work jointly for UF/IFAS Extension and Suwannee County to plan, develop, implement, teach, evaluate, and report on extension programs in vegetable crops (mainly watermelons, blueberries, carrots, sweet potatoes, snap beans, and sweet corn), agronomic crops (mainly peanut, corn, and cotton), tree nurseries, food safety, pesticide training, IPM, and best management practices for producers. Active participation in the 4-H Youth Development program is also expected, to include but not limited to preparing youth for judging competitions, summer camps, and/or school enrichment.


What you will do:

  • Develop, plan, design, teach, and evaluate community-based educational programs.

  • Create programs that reflect the county’s population diversity and unique educational needs.

  • Maintain an effective program advisory committee with appropriate community representation.

  • Develop and sustain effective working relationships with Suwannee County government, stakeholder producer/commodity groups, community agencies, media, and residents.

  • Cooperate with extension agents in Suwannee County, Regional Specialized Agents, and other county Extension agents, as well as district and state Extension professionals.

  • Participate in multi-county programs.

  • Work effectively as a productive team member.

  • Create multi-media presentations, fact sheets, non-technical publications, posters, exhibits, and web content.

  • Participate in professional societies.

  • Seek extramural funds in support of the extension program.

  • Use computer technology and social media for communication, teaching, and program management.

  • Follow all UF/IFAS Extension policies regarding affirmative action, program development, and reporting.

  • Create an annual plan of work and report of accomplishment and submit required faculty reports.

  • Assume other duties as assigned by the Suwannee County Extension Director and the Northeast District Extension Director.

  • Support and commit to UF and Suwannee County values including inclusion, diversity, equity, and access.

Further information:

Employment is contingent upon the results of a national background screening and a drug screening required by Suwannee County.


The agent may work in extreme weather (cold and heat) while making farm visits, delivering programs, and participating in research evaluations and field demonstrations.


Establishing residency in Suwannee County is preferred, as it is expected that the agent will become a part of community life.


Suwannee County is a small (689 square miles) rural community (about 44,000 population) in Northeast Florida. The main towns are Live Oak, Branford, Dowling Park, and Wellborn. The county is home to the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park and Campground and to many first-magnitude springs. Suwannee County is bordered on three sides by the Suwannee River.  The North Florida Research and Education Center-Suwannee Valley, is located near Live Oak, houses Regional Specialized Agents and provides support to the agriculture community as well.  The Suwannee County Extension office currently has agents with programs in livestock and Forages, homeowner Horticulture, Family and Consumer Science, and 4-H Youth Development.


Extension is a partnership between state, federal, and county governments to provide scientific knowledge and expertise to the public. As such, all partners are involved in the supervision of the office and contribute to the salary and support resources. The primary goal of Extension is to disseminate the latest knowledge and applicable technologies in agriculture, human and natural resources, and the life sciences in order to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. The UF/IFAS mission is accomplished through Extension faculty members, scientists, educators, administrative staff, and volunteers working cohesively throughout Florida’s 67 counties.


Candidates will be reviewed as applications are received, but please be aware that interviews might not be scheduled until 4 to 6 weeks after the position closing date. Are you a good match?


What you will bring (required):

  • A bachelor’s degree in agronomy, horticulture, plant science, or a related field from an accredited college or university is required for all ranks. If hired with a bachelor’s degree and at rank I, we want you to continue to grow in your career. As such, we expect you to make at least 50% progress towards obtaining your master’s degree within the first 6 years of employment. An earned masters’ degree in a relevant field is required for hiring above rank I.

  • Familiarity with pest and disease management, irrigation management, and plane nutrient management.

  • Strong written and verbal interpersonal and communication skills.

  • Ability to establish solid partnerships and to find innovative ways to attract new audiences.

  • A commitment to customer service, including clientele visits.

  • Strong organizational skills, time management, and record-keeping techniques

  • Ability to use computer technology and social media for communication, teaching, and program management.

  • Ability to possess (or be able to obtain) a valid Florida driver’s license.

  • Flexibility with working hours; willingness to work irregular hours, including evenings, weekends, and overnight travel.

  • Willingness to work with all audiences regardless of race, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, political viewpoint, or economic status.


What you will bring (preferred):

  • A master’s degree.

  • Expertise with fruit and nut crops as well as basic knowledge of organic production.

  • Bilingual ability (English/Spanish).

  • Knowledge of marketing through social media.

  • Experience creating lesson plans, developing instructional materials, and applying teaching methods appropriate for the audience.

  • Expertise in getting groups to work together for a higher goal, managing competing priorities, and adaptability to handle unexpected situations.

  • Leadership and problem-solving skills.