Postdoctoral Research Associate - Industrial Hemp Project

Posted: Tuesday, March 17, 2020
 Full Time
 Large scale
 All - Cropping
 Soil Health

Position Description

Rodale Institute is seeking a full-time Postdoctoral Research Associate to conduct research and extension activities related to several funded projects investigating industrial and CBD hemp. Given that commercial hemp production ceased throughout North America in the late 1950s due to its close relationship to marijuana, knowledge needed to grow hemp has largely been lost. Renewed interest in reviving the hemp industry has provided Rodale Institute with the opportunity to create a research program into the potential of industrial hemp not only as a high-value crop, but also as a rotational or cover crop within a regenerative organic system. Industrial hemp has been suggested as an ideal crop for organic agriculture because it is believed to compete well with weeds, experiences relatively low disease and insect damage, can improve soil health, and there is a market for organic hemp products.

The postdoctoral associate will work on several projects funded through private, state, and federal funding sources addressing issues related to soil health, pests, crop rotations, and hemp fertility. He or she will be expected to communicate research results through peer-reviewed publications, extension publications, workshops, field days, and training of Extension Educators. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will manage field and laboratory activities related to industrial hemp production at Rodale Institute in Kutztown, PA, Pocono Organic Farm in Long Pond, PA, and other locations where hemp research trials may be conducted. This is a hands-on field position reporting to the Hemp Program Lead Scientist.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Participate in experimental design; data collection, processing, and analysis; and supervision of technical staff/teams.
  • Manage day-to-day activities of hemp research production at all of Rodale Institute’s hemp locations.
  • Be responsible for all permitting and reporting to state authorities and funding agencies.
  • Work with the research teams to produce peer-reviewed publications and develop grant proposals for additional funding for research, education, and outreach activities for the project and beyond.
  • Work with Research and Communications Departments to create outreach and education publications, including bulletins, fact sheets, and newspaper and web articles.
  • Project management and coordination of field operations with contract farmers and Rodale Institute Farm Operations Department to facilitate timely data collection and field activities.
  • Develop budgets and work plans for hemp research trials with the Program Lead Scientist, Chief Scientist, and production and research staff at Rodale Institute, Pocono Organic Farm, and other research locations affiliated with Rodale Institute.
  • Assist in preparing and giving oral presentations to scientific communities, governmental decision-makers, private environmental groups, farmers and any other individuals or groups as necessary both on-and off-site.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by management.

Required Qualifcations:

  • PhD in agronomy, horticulture, plant science, or other related applied and/or sciences.
  • Minimum of two years in field and laboratory research experience and familiarity with field row crop production.
  • Strong background in statistical analyses of field trial results and evidence of publishing in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively in a team environment with individuals of diverse backgrounds and multiple disciplines.
  • Experience in grant-writing to secure extramural funding.
  • Ability and willingness to work in all types of weather and capable of lifting in excess of 50 pounds.
  • Good communications skills – both written and verbal.
  • Flexible work hours, as farm work can be unpredictable.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Working knowledge of industrial hemp and CBD farming and production.
  • Experience with organic farming and soil health and/or organic production/research.
  • Evidence of attention to detail and ability to develop and maintain high quality records and other documentation is desirable.
  • Excellent organizational skills with demonstrated written and oral skills for communicating technical information to farmers and extension personnel.
  • Self-starter with the ability to prioritize multiple activities.

Additional Information:

  • Travel: This position requires regional and some national travel.

Other Institutional Expectations:

  • To be trustful and respectful to all staff and visitors.

About Rodale Institute:

Rodale Institute is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to pioneering organic farming through research and outreach. The mission of the Rodale Institute is to improve the health and well-being of people and the planet through organic leadership. For over seventy years, the Rodale Institute has been researching the best practices of organic agriculture and sharing findings with farmers and scientists throughout the world, advocating for policies that support farmers, and educating consumers about how going organic is the healthiest option for people and the planet.

The Research Department’s mission is to provide scientifically valid research data to demonstrate the benefits of transitioning to organic management systems and identify and provide tools and practices to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions; increase nutrient and water use efficiencies; and improve soil and water quality, pollinator activity and food security. Primary research program areas include: 1) Helping to Grow Organic Agriculture; 2) Mitigating and Adapting to Climate Change; and 3) Improving Human Health and Nutrition. Learn more at

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