Montana State University

Research Position
Vacancy Announcement
*Updated to November 6, 2013*

Research Associate- Cereal Grain *located in Moccasin, MT*
Central Agricultural Research Center

Search Number     14-454
Start Date Upon successful completion of search process
Appointment Full-time (1.0 FTE) twelve month letter of appointment position

$35,000 for the best qualified candidate that holds a BS degree or $40,000 for the best qualified candidate that holds an MS degree

Benefits Eligible

The position will be located at the Central Agricultural Research Center (CARC) near Moccasin, Montana. CARC is a part of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station headquartered at Montana State University. Founded in 1893 as a Land Grant University, Montana State University (MSU) is composed of eight academic colleges, including the College of Agriculture, and a graduate school and boasts a friendly, supportive faculty and campus environment. Currently, the University hosts an enrollment of over 13,000 students, including approximately 1,900 graduate students. MSU is recognized as one of 108 U.S. Research Universities representing the top tier of the Carnegie Foundation rankings. The CARC is located in the central region of Montana, 150 miles to main campus, 70 miles SE of Great Falls and 30 miles west of Lewistown, in an area known as the Judith Basin. The Judith Basin is open prairie surrounded by six mountain ranges. The area boasts spectacular scenery and the rural appeal of an array of recreational activities including fishing, hiking, hunting for fossils and game, photography, skiing, boating, and musical and other cultural events.


This research associate position is under the supervision of the Central Agricultural Research Center (CARC) superintendent/research agronomist. This individual will support applied field production research for cereal grains, annual and perennial forages, and some oilseed and pulse crops.

Duties and

The successful candidate will organize and implement, according to protocol, cereal grain variety development and evaluation trials on the CARC and on-farm trials at multiple locations across seven central Montana counties. Implementation will include field site selection, trial establishment and maintenance, collection of yield and quality samples, collection and analysis of data and writing summary reports, the maintenance and general repair of equipment and facilities utilized in conducting field research, and supervision of associated seasonal laborers. Cereal variety development and evaluations may include studying post harvest seed and seedling growth habit characters such as seed dormancy. Participate in the design and establishment of studies to develop and/or evaluate methods and products to enhance cereal grain production and quality. Assist with studies conducted to evaluate and improve forage production methods including species and variety performance evaluations and production methods. Assist in the evaluation of selected oilseed species for adaptation and variety evaluations. Co-authorship of refereed and popular press articles and oral or poster presentations at regional professional meetings and grower information meetings, related to these research endeavors, is encouraged. Other related duties as assigned.

1.   M.S. in Agronomy, Plant Science, or a closely related discipline, or B.S. degree plus substantial experience.
2.   Knowledge of plant forms and functions. Be able to operate field research plot tillage, spraying, seeding, and harvesting equipment and 16 hp to 110 hp tractors.
3.   Experience in the use of computer software for word processing, spread sheets, and statistical analysis.
1.   Knowledge in agronomic field plot technology.
2.   Experience in cereal grain production and seed processing.
3.   Experience in electronic hardware set up and interfacing with computers.
4.   Mechanical repair experience and knowledge of farm equipment electrical systems.
The Successful
Candidate Will

Exercise good judgment in making decisions, be self-motivated, and be able to work well independently and in team settings; use safe operating procedures in all tasks; maintain effective attention to accuracy, precision, and detail in data collection while meeting deadlines and prioritizing competing demands; be diligent in recording data and details related to implementing research trials (soil and weather conditions and miss-steps); have the ability to determine crop growth stage and learn the identity of crop pests (disease, insect and weeds); and have effective interpersonal skills which provide for successful establishment of constructive working relationships with MAES staff, crop growers, seasonal laborers, county extension agents, and industry collaborators.

1.   In accordance with MSU policy, hiring will be conditional upon successful completion of a pre-employment background check.
2.   Some in- and out-state travel will be required, therefore must possess or be able to obtain a valid Driver's License.
3.   Must possess or be able to obtain a pesticide applicators license within six months of hire.
4.   Must be willing to work outside of traditional business hours when research protocols dictate.
5.   Must be able to lift 65 pounds.
6.   Must be able walk on and stand in rough terrain for long periods of time.
7.   Must be able to work in extreme weather conditions. Must be able to work with and around dust, pollen-bearing plants and pesticides.
8.   Must be able to operate various types of farm machinery and maneuver in, around, and under machinery for cleaning and repairs.

Screening of applications will begin on December 15, 2014 and will continue to be accepted until the position is filled.


To apply, submit the following:

  • (1) a letter of application that addresses the required and preferred qualifications listed above by clearly indicating relevant education and experience using specific examples; and
  • (2) a current resume or vitae, and
  • (3) the names and contact information of three professional references.

    Electronic submissions in PDF format are preferred, and must have the applicant's signature on the letter of application. For electronic submittals, please indicate "Applicant - Search #14-454" in the subject line of the email.

    Submit materials to:

    • Dave Wichman
    • c/o Lorrie Linhart, Administrative Associate
    • MSU Central Agricultural Research Center
    • 52583 US Hwy 87
    • Moccasin, MT 59462-9512


Posted 6/13/2014 bbclark, updated 11/6/14 bbclark