Position Announcement: Director, Foundation for Agronomic Research


February 27, 2019

The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) plays a vital role in promoting and educating stakeholders on the economic, environmental and social benefits of the 4R framework for managing nutrients. TFI’s members are global producers, wholesalers and agribusiness retailers who share a common commitment to sustainability. TFI members have identified a vision in which all plant nutrients are applied using a measurable and recognized 4R nutrient stewardship framework, evidenced through better crop performance, improved soil health, and cleaner air and water.

The Director of the Foundation for Agronomic Research (FAR) is a new position to support a 4R strategic plan aimed at achieving the above vision. FAR currently serves as the administering organization for the industry supported 4R Research Fund. The person holding this position will serve as the administrator of FAR (in coordination with accounting support) and will be responsible for leveraging funds, coordinating and collaborating with researchers, communicating results, and providing technical expertise and assistance to TFI’s broader 4R effort.

While FAR will be a separate entity under the TFI umbrella, the Director of the Foundation for Agronomic Research will report to TFI’s Vice President of Stewardship and Sustainability. With incorporation of the 4Rs as a research priority in the Farm Bill, significant opportunities exist to advance 4R research, and the industry needs to be well positioned to provide input and feed back to the USDA during implementation. This position requires passion and interest in the fertilizer industry; strong, science-based knowledge of agronomy, agricultural and environmental systems; excellent verbal and written communication skills, and a successful track record of stakeholder engagement.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Administer and coordinate efforts within FAR to support the 4R Research Fund including managing the grant contracting process; providing technical guidance to 4R Research funded project teams; serving as the liaison between researchers, industry and policy; and seeking opportunities to leverage 4R Fund resources. The Director will serve as an Ex-Officio Member of the 4R Fund Management Committee and as a member of the 4R Fund Technical Advisory Group.
  • Advance opportunities for 4R Research within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA-NIFA)(as created by the 2018 Farm Bill) to provide industry input in research program areas, university researcher awareness of funding opportunities and collaboration on proposal development, and voluntary researcher coordination of resulting projects to pursue consistent data collection across projects.
  • Collaborate with 4R Researchers (funded through both the 4R Fund and other available resources) to disseminate and integrate outcomes into policy, ag retailer recommendations, and farmer practices. Outreach mechanisms could include hosting webinars, developing summaries to interpret and highlight project outcomes and scientific updates on nutrient stewardship, delivery of scientific information to advance 4R Research outcomes through conference presentations, peer reviewed articles, fact sheets, industry magazines, outreach publications and technical reports.
  • Support efforts related to the annual update of the Nutrient Use Geographic Information System (NuGIS) database and support maintenance of the 5-year Soil Test Survey.
  • Provide technical expertise to support industry engagement and responses to relevant policy initiatives and other stakeholder projects, documentation and communications.
  • Provide support and industry representation in efforts to expand 4R Certification and other regional 4R programs across the U.S.
  • Coordinate industry efforts to quantify 4R practice metrics and adoption (such as Field-to-Market) and assist with engagement of state and federal agencies to incorporate 4R practices into their metrics and survey mechanisms.
  • Represent the agricultural/fertilizer industry on technical advisory committees and work groups.

Position Requirements

A Ph.D. in agronomy or related fields (e.g. environmental science, agricultural engineering) with an emphasis in plant nutrition, soil fertility or nutrient management is strongly preferred, as well as a background in agricultural research, crop production and environmental issues. Experience coordinating the implementation of research funds and knowledge of agricultural conservation and nutrient movement within the environment is a necessary pre-requisite.

A strong interest in issues related sustainable systems is required. The candidate must have excellent written and verbal communication skills, strong presentation capabilities, a collaborative mind-set and the desire to play both lead and support roles within an efficient team advancing the 4R strategic plan. Strong leadership and organizational skills are necessary to manage multiple efforts with members and stakeholders.

The position can be located at the Director’s home office, and it will require travel for stakeholder engagement.

Salary & Benefits

Salary is commensurate with experience. TFI offers employees a competitive benefits package.

Application Submission

Applications will be accepted through March 31, 2019. Submit applications to [email protected].