The Organic Agronomy Training Service (OATS) is a collaboratively managed, programmatically independent consortium of universities, NGOs, and industry representatives who envision a future where families, farms, and ecosystems are viable, healthy, and resilient. Our mission is to train agricultural professionals in the practices and principles of organic crop production so that every farmer has access to science-based agronomic support.
Our training programs focus on agricultural professionals who serve farmers on the organic spectrum, from considering, through transition, and maintaining certification. These professionals include agronomists, Certified Crop Advisors, agri-business and retail service, independent consultants, and university extension educators. We educate this audience through regionally adapted trainings across five agricultural production areas: Mid-Atlantic, Midwest East, Midwest Central, Midwest West, and Rocky Mountain West.
OATS is fiscally sponsored by the Organic Trade Association who provides non-profit oversight, financial accounting and reporting, grant administration, and general guidance. The Organic Trade Association also serves as an anchor fundraiser for OATS programming activities through its industry-invested GRO Organic Voluntary Research, Promotion, and Education Program.
The Organic Grain Agronomy & Training Specialist will serve as the lead content-area expert in developing and implementing OATS organic grain agronomy training programs throughout the five training regions. In close collaboration with the National Program Director, the Specialist will create and curate content for inclusion in OATS training materials and curriculum. The Specialist will serve as a trainer and facilitator at OATS’ distance-learning and in-person training events, in conjunction with local experts and content contributors. In addition to these responsibilities, the Specialist will execute other assorted tasks required to fulfill the OATS mission and implement its strategic plan.
A major segment of the Organic Grain Agronomy & Training Specialist scope of work includes contributing to the development and execution of a new hybrid distance-learning/in-person course for agricultural professionals on organic grain production.
Description of Hybrid Distance-Learning/In-Person Course:
This course will take an innovative approach to delivering content through a flipped classroom learning model. The course will consist of seven modules of engaging, high-production value video lessons on all aspects of organic grain production. Participants will be grouped into regional cohorts and meet by video conference to analyze and discuss each of the modules and build connections with each other. Participants will work through the content and lessons at their own pace and on their own schedule allowing them to take in the material when and how it will be most meaningful to them individually.
Each module will include exercises that the participants will complete and submit to the course facilitator for review and feedback. The course will begin (and possibly also conclude) with an on-farm session where participants will see working examples of content from the online portion of the course, hear from farmers who are successfully managing organic acres, and engage in group learning activities.
The independent distance learning modules will be comprised of highly engaging, high-production value, video-based lessons organized into the following modules:
Scope of Services
The Organic Grain Agronomy & Training Specialist position is a part-time contract from October 5, 2020 through December 31, 2021 with possible continuation of the contract into 2022.
Deliverables & Timeline
Travel required (subject to COVID-19 restrictions):