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Position Available: Regional Extension Tree Fruit Specialist South-Central Washington

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Regional Tree Fruit Extension Specialist, Washington State University Extension. This is a 12-month, tenure-track faculty position at the rank of Assistant or Associate Professor within the WSU College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Program Unit. The position works as an integral member of the Tree Fruit Extension Team to provide leadership for Extension outreach and applied research programs in South-central Washington for commercial tree fruit production. The position will be headquartered at the WSU Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington. Focus areas may include but are not limited to: tree fruit horticulture, orchard management, orchard mechanization and automation.


The WSU ANR Program Unit is a departmental unit of WSU Extension within the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) of Washington State University. The ANR Unit seeks an inspired and highly qualified professional to join a state-wide team dedicated to excellence in outreach and applied research addressing current and emerging issues relevant to the tree fruit industry of Washington State. Collaboration and teamwork with other faculty of the ANR Program Unit, Academic Departments in CAHNRS, USDA-ARS, the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission, and grower member organizations are essential in achieving maximum impact and relevancy to the tree fruit industry and stakeholders across the region. This position is responsible to the Director of the WSU ANR Program Unit.


  • Communicate with industry stakeholders to identify key priorities. Stakeholders include orchard owners, orchard managers, company horticulturists, Spanish speaking workforce, packers and shippers, other tree fruit industry representatives, and relevant professionals.
  • Work cooperatively with the Tree Fruit Extension Team and industry stakeholders to develop effective Extension outreach and applied research programs that address key priorities.
  • Work with the Tree Fruit Extension Team, other public sector agencies and grower member organizations to develop, deliver and evaluate educational programs.
  • Collaborate and partner with internal and external sources of the agricultural expertise, including other WSU faculty, federal and state agency personnel, and organizationsincluding other WSU faculty, federal and state agency personnel, and organizations supporting agriculture, natural resource stewardship and local community development.
  • Acquire financial resources through grants, contracts, and gifts to support the development and delivery of the aforementioned programs.
  • Engage actively as a member of the WSU Tree Fruit Extension Team and the ANR Program Unit, and participate as an affiliate faculty member in an appropriate Academic Department or Center of CAHNRS.
  • Extend the reach of WSU Extension by integrating distance technology into program delivery through computer applications, decision support tools, web pages, on-line course development, electronic mailings, educational videos, multimedia, social media and other emerging technologies.
  • Develop an applied research program addressing key commercial tree fruit production issues; results of which should be publishable in appropriate professional journals.
  • Document program impacts through quantitative evaluation and other means and make timely reports.
  • Create peer-reviewed Extension publications, other scholarly products, and educational materials that are consistent with expectations for Extension scholarship.
  • Build capacity to sustain and grow programs through constituent empowerment and/or leadership development.
  • Engage in professional development to update and expand personal skillset.
  • Be willing to redirect efforts in response to changing industry needs.
  • Engage diverse audiences and communities.
  • Promote external communications with elected officials, agricultural leaders and organizations at the local, state, and federal level.


    1. Minimum of an earned Master’s degree in horticulture, plant science, agricultural and biological systems engineering or other agriculturally-related field, at the time of hire.
    2. Relevant knowledge in agriculture and experience working with commercial producers.
    3. Demonstrated ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both verbally and in writing, with industry stakeholders.


    1. Knowledge, training and experience in agricultural field research and problem solving applied to tree fruit horticulture, orchard management, automation and mechanization in perennial crops or specialty crop horticulture.
    2. Ph.D. in horticulture, agricultural or biological systems engineering or other agriculturally-related field.
    3. Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work with diverse partners.
    4. Demonstrated ability in extension outreach that addresses issues related to the production of agricultural products.
    5. Knowledge of emerging issues impacting the Washington tree fruit industry.
    6. Demonstrated record of peer-reviewed scholarship.
    7. Flexibility in exercising both leadership and team memberroles.
    8. Demonstrated success with grants, contracts, and gift development.
    9. Demonstrated ability to develop and carry out plans for fee-generating educational activities.
    10. Demonstrated ability to use current computer technology and distance-bridging technologies to expand learning opportunities for stakeholders.
    11. Spanish language proficiency.


  • Evening and weekend work may be necessary.
  • Ability to travel year-round using own reliable transportation (mileage reimbursed) is required. The successful candidate must possess a valid driver’s license. While using a private vehicle for official business, current automobile liability insurance must be obtained (meeting the requirements described in RCW 46.30.020, and RCW46.09.090).
  • Extension faculty members are hired into the organization, not into a specific geographical location. It is possible that future circumstances may require relocation.
  • Understand and carry out the principles and specific requirements of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Affirmative Action Plan, and all pertinent rules and regulations of WSU and the counties served.
  • Acquire Washington State Department of Agriculture Public Operators Pesticide License.
  • Employees will undergo background screening as a condition of employment.


Salary is commensurate with the candidate’s academic and professional qualifications and available funding. State of Washington benefits and enrollment in TIAA-CREF are included. For more information on benefits at WSU, go to:


The WSU-Prosser Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center (IAREC) is a diverse and multifaceted research and extension center located near Prosser in Benton County. Benton County ranks first in the production of wine and juice grapes, second in the production of hops, and third in the production of tree fruits in Washington. The county is also bordered by Yakima and Grant Counties, the first and second largest producers of tree fruit in the state. IAREC hosts 13 WSU faculty members associated with the departments of plant pathology, entomology, biological systems engineering, horticulture, and crop and soil science and 7 USDA-ARS scientists from the Grain Legume Genetics Physiology and Temperate Tree Fruit and Vegetable Research Units. The Center is also host to the WSU Subject Matter Centers: the Center for Precision Agriculture and Automated Systems (CPAAS), Clean Plant Center Northwest (CPCNW), the Washington Agricultural Weather Network (AWN). Scientists at IAREC host over 40 graduate students from 11 countries and 6 continents. IAREC is a 25 minute drive from the WSU Tri-Cities Regional Campus.
Research laboratories are located at the H.P. Singleton Headquarters unit. Offerings include new (2015) state of the art plant growth facilities, fruit science laboratories, microscopy core facility, cold hardiness core facility, and precision agriculture decision and fabrication laboratories, and a central graduate student study center. Field laboratory facilities include four research farms totaling almost 1200 acres, and extensive laboratories, greenhouses, offices, and support facilities. WSU-IAREC includes the H.P. Singleton Headquarters Unit, a 191-acre site, consisting of laboratory and office buildings, greenhouses, dormitory, cold storage facilities, and other support facilities. It is located five miles northeast of Prosser, Washington. The Singleton campus includes Hamilton Hall and dedicated facilities for viticulture and enology, precision agriculture, agricultural weather, and hop research. Field research sites are available on approximately 120 acres, under gravity, trickle and pressure irrigation systems. This unit operates an independent domestic water system, sanitary sewer, and boiler plant (for facility heating) to serve the 150 faculty, staff and time-slip employees and greenhouses. The Roza Unit, a 320-acre site, is located 3 miles north of the H.P. Singleton Headquarters and provided IAREC scientists with field research sites having pressure, trickle or gravity irrigation systems. A third research site known as the Othello Unit is a 427 acre site located 80 miles northeast of Prosser within the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project near town of Othello, Washington. This unit provides field research sites for faculty from the Biological Systems Engineering, Crop and Soil Sciences, Entomology, Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Plant Pathology, and departments at WSU – Pullman. Cooperative projects exist at this site with the Washington State Crop Improvement Association to provide controlled locations for seed increase. Farming and irrigation services are provided by the farm operations staff.


Prosser, a quaint and progressive town of 5000 residents with superior public schools, is situated centrally in the midst of this bountiful horticultural region. Located in south-central Washington State, Prosser is the birthplace of Washington wine and is home to the recently established Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center and The Annual Prosser Balloon Festival. The Yakima River runs through the town and expansive orchards, vineyards, and hop yards. Prosser is just a 30-minute drive to the Tri-Cities metropolitan area, where many IAREC researchers reside, with a population of two hundred and fifty thousand and the fourth largest metropolitan area in Washington. The Tri-Cities offer extensive water-related activities at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake and Yakima rivers, a symphony orchestra, three sports teams, a convention center, live theatre, several annual music festivals and fishing tournaments, and a variety of restaurants and shopping centers. The Tri-Cities Airport (PSC) offers 34 flights per day and is served by Alaska, Delta, United, and Allegiant Airlines. Direct flights to Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, and Denver are available and the airport is far and away the most accessible hub in Eastern Washington from November through March. The Tri Cities is also served by an Interstate highway, Amtrak, and barge services to Lewiston, Idaho and Portland, OR. The Yakima Metropolitan area, home to the majority of tree fruit packing and distribution in Eastern Washington, is a 40-minute drive from Prosser also offers big-city amenities similar to those in the Tri Cities. The Cascade and Blue mountain ranges, Seattle/Portland metropolitan areas, and Spokane/Coeur D’ Alene tourist areas are a short drive (2-3 hours) from Prosser.


Known for its iconic apple, Washington State is recognized globally as one of the world’s premiere tree fruit production regions. Nationally, Washington ranks first in the production of apples, sweet cherries, and pears. The Washington tree fruit industry contributes more than $6 billion of annual impact to the state’s economy. One- third of apple and sweet cherry production is exported each year. The industry is committed to sustainable agricultural practices and conservation of water resources. Together with the State’s tree fruit industry, Washington State University strives to be the world leader in tree fruit research and education. Today, WSU’s tree fruit effort includes over 30 faculty who dedicate the majority of their time and effort to tree fruit research and extension. These faculty span nine academic disciplines – horticulture, biological systems engineering, entomology, plant pathology, soil science, food science, agricultural economics, agrometeorology and rural sociology – and are located on the main Pullman campus, at three research and extension centers, and in extension program units. This effort is supplemented with the activities of scientists in the USDA-ARS at the Tree Fruit Research Laboratory located in Wenatchee and the Yakima Agriculture Research Laboratory in Wapato, as well as a research program in the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission.
WSU has continued to advance its tree fruit research and Extension program with recent investment in faculty positions in breeding and genomics, automation and mechanization, and tree fruit physiology. The recently approved $32 million tree fruit endowment from the state’s tree fruit producers will add six research endowed chairs, at least five information and technology transfer positions.


Screening of applications will begin Monday, November 7, 2016. To apply visit:

Be prepared to submit:

  • a letter of application addressing each of the minimum and preferred qualifications;
  • a current and complete curriculum vitae/resume;
  • a concise 1-2 page statement outlining your approach to establishing an effective Extension outreach and applied research program for tree fruit crops in South-central Washington;
  • letters of reference from three (3) professionals who are able to address your qualifications relative to this position; and
  • scanned images of official academic transcripts.

For questions about the position contact:
Karen Lewis
Search Committee Chair

Washington State University