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Extension Information and Technology Transfer (ITT) Tree Fruit Horticulture Position

Posted by Bernardita Sallato | January 9, 2019


Official Title: Non- tenure Track Faculty

This is a 12-month, promotion track position with benefits that is renewable at 2-year intervals based on performance and the availability of funds. The position will be a member of the WSU CAHNRS Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Program Unit and reports to the WSU Extension ANR Director.


With the passing of two special project assessments in 2011 and 2013, Washington State tree fruit growers committed to generating a $32 million endowment over an 8-year period. This endowment to Washington State University will support Endowed Research Chairs, Extension Information and Technology Transfer (ITT) Specialists, and research facilities and orchard operations. The ITT endowment was created to fund positions and activities that will advance world-class information and technology transfer to the Washington fruit industry, including development of state-of-the-art decision tools.

Pome fruit orchard systems have changed. Driven by labor and profitability issues, growers have moved to high-density systems; more controlled irrigation delivery methods; and higher cost canopy support and protection systems. Apple growers are also increasingly planting novel plant material—rootstocks, cultivars and, in the future, pollinizers—many with largely unknown responses to PNW stresses.
Assisting growers in making total orchard establishment and management decisions using new plant material and integrating knowledge across disciplines as varied as horticulture, biosystems engineering, plant pathology and entomology is critical to successful selection of highly adapted plant material and, ultimately, to helping the industry develop sustainable orchard systems.

The Extension ITT Specialist will function as an integral member of the WSU Tree Fruit Extension Team and will work with a network of research and Extension faculty, tree fruit producers, allied industry and industry partners to conduct applied research, deliver educational programs and resources, and solve industry problems. The position will be responsible for outreach programming in environmental stress management in apple, pear and sweet cherry commercial production systems, apple rootstock demonstration, and emerging issues. As an integral member of the Plant Physiology Program, the environmental stress work will include, but not be limited to, irrigation management for production of target fruit, characteristics of netting material and influence of netting on light and water management, and the influence of environmental conditions on sunburn characteristics. Rootstock outreach will be coordinated with current rootstock research programs at Washington State University, informed by work on apple rootstocks both nationally and internationally.


• Utilize various electronic communication strategies (e.g., web pages, e-newsletter, factsheets, etc.) to broadly communicate research-based information to stakeholders.
• Coordinate outreach activities including workshops, field days and hands-on trainings.
• Deliver effective, engaging presentations to large and small audiences.
• Answer stakeholder questions via phone, email, and farm visits to provide research-based solutions to stakeholders.
• Create innovative products to promote adoption of research-based information (e.g. podcasts, videos, interactive exercises).
• Develop an industry-wide network of producers, extension and research faculty and industry partners to collaborate in applied research, provide educational programs and resources to solve industry problems.
• Serve as an integral member of the WSU Tree Fruit Extension Team
• Collaborate with scientists at the USDA-ARS Tree Fruit Research Laboratory (Wenatchee), the Washington Tree Fruit Research Commission and other relevant public and private partners.
• Coordinate planning and implementing long-range plans for Extension ITT in cooperation with Tree Fruit Extension Program Leader
• Secure external funding (e.g., grants, contracts, gifts) to support and expand the program.
• Coordinate planning and implementing proper record keeping and fiscal policies in keeping with University, agency, and federal requirements.
• Conduct (and analyze existing) stakeholder educational needs assessments.
• Document program impacts through quantitative evaluation.
• Manage assigned program budgets and make timely reports.
• Staff project committees as requested or needed.


1. An earned MS degree in horticulture, plant science, 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. Ph.D. degree in Horticulture or related plant science discipline with a background in environmental stress applied research and/or management of temperate fruit crops, especially apple, pear, sweet cherry and other stone fruits earned by the time of hire.
2. Demonstrated skills in developing educational content and resources across platforms.
3. Demonstrated experience organizing and delivering outreach to industry stakeholders through workshops, talks and/or trainings.
4. Ability to advise, lead, and mentor staff and student interns.
5. Evidence of ability to develop an effective applied research and extension outreach program.
6. Bilingual (Spanish)
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: 


• 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.
• Employees will undergo background screening as a condition of employment.


The Wenatchee Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center (REC) is located in a productive irrigated agricultural area with a vibrant tree fruit sector. The Center houses 11 faculty and five co-located USDA-ARS scientists who conduct multidisciplinary research principally on deciduous tree fruit (, supported by around 80 students, technicians, and staff. Research areas include entomology, horticulture, molecular biology, plant breeding, plant pathology, plant physiology, postharvest physiology, and soil science. The Center hosts the WSU Decision Aid System, a state-of-the-art online source of time-sensitive information for tree fruit management. An office of the Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is also located on campus. The REC hosts active Extension programs and its faculty, representing four academic departments, contribute to educational programming. Faculty have a strong commitment to graduate and undergraduate student training. The main campus in Wenatchee includes office, laboratory, and greenhouse facilities. Dry and wet labs with two research farms located in nearby agricultural areas provide over 150 acres of established orchard (both conventional and certified organic). Field trials for research and demonstration purposes with grower-cooperators and packing facilities are commonly utilized. A suite of pilot scale controlled atmosphere storage rooms and single lane fruit sorter housed in a nearby packing facility are available. Mission Statement: To be a hub for researchers, educators, extension specialists, students, and stakeholders focused on irrigated tree fruit and specialty crop systems to develop and apply new science-based knowledge and products to advance economically, environmentally and socially sustainable agriculture for industries and communities in Washington and the world.


Wenatchee’s population of 65,000 is located on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range at the confluence of the Columbia and Wenatchee Rivers amid cherry, apple, and pear orchards. The world’s primary fruit-producing region is a fitting home to the WSU Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center. Some of the favorite outdoor recreational opportunities are hiking, biking, and skiing in the mountains, and fishing, swimming, and boating in the rivers. The “Apple Capital of the World” is just a few hours’ drive from the city of Seattle and Greater Puget Sound. Local attractions and year-round art and cultural events complete the unique character of this north-central Washington town. To learn more about the Wenatchee community, visit


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.


The Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension Program Unit is one of three program units of WSU Extension within the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences (CAHNRS) at Washington State University. The work of the ANR Unit faculty spans a broad range of expertise that includes agronomic and horticultural crops; animal agriculture; water resources; environmental stewardship; forestry; rangeland management; farm management; marketing; apiculture; integrated pest management; pesticide safety; and urban horticulture. To learn more about the ANR Extension Program Unit visit:


Recognizing its unique land-grant research and educational mission to the people of Washington State and beyond, the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resources (CAHNRS) is proud to provide leadership in discovering, accessing, and sharing knowledge through high quality research, instruction, and extension programs that contribute to a safe and abundant food and fiber supply, promote the well-being of individuals, families and communities, enhance sustainability of agricultural and economic systems, and promote stewardship of natural resources and the environment. CAHNRS is an academically- diverse college and the largest college at WSU with 2,100 undergraduate and 530 graduate students, providing opportunities to engage, share, and support one another across 12 departments and 4 research and extension centers throughout the state. To learn more about CAHNRS, visit:

Founded in 1890, Washington State University is a comprehensive land- grant university with teaching, research, and extension missions, and one of two research universities in Washington State. WSU is organized into 10 academic colleges, the Honors College, and the Graduate School. It has an enrollment of more than 26,000 undergraduate and graduate students on 4 campuses (Pullman, Spokane, Tri-Cities, and Vancouver) with approximately 20,000 students located on the main campus in Pullman, WA. WSU ranks among the top 60 public research universities and is a Carnegie I, Doctoral/Research Extensive University. WSU strongly values diversity among its faculty, staff, and students, and seeks to ensure a welcoming community for all. To learn more about WSU visit:

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY/AFFIRMATIVE ACTION EDUCATOR AND EMPLOYER. Members of ethnic minorities, women, special disabled veterans, veterans of the Vietnam era, recently separated veterans, and other protected veterans, persons of disability and/or persons age 40 and over are encouraged to apply. WSU is committed to excellence through diversity, has faculty friendly policies including a partner accommodation program, and an NSF ADVANCE Institutional Transformation grant (see

WSU employs only U.S. citizens and lawfully authorized non-U.S. citizens. All new employees must show employment eligibility verification as required by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Washington State University is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation in the application process, contact Human Resource Services: 509-335-4521(v), Washington State TDD Relay Service: Voice Callers: 1-800-833-6384; TDD Callers: 1-800-833-6388, 509-335-1259(f), or


Screening of applications will begin January 31, 2019. To apply visit:

For information on WSU Ext., visit:

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