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Junior Specialist in Climate Smart Agriculture (Multiple Hire)

Position overview

Position title: ESF Junior Specialist
Salary range: See Table 24B for the salary range for this position. A reasonable estimate for this position is $51,300.
Percent time: 100%
Anticipated start: September 1, 2023
Position duration: 1 year renewable

Application Window

Open date: August 15, 2023

Next review date: Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Wednesday, Aug 7, 2024 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The VISTA Farms-Food-Future (F3) Innovation team and the Experimental Smart Farm (ESF) are seeking qualified candidates to fill one or more positions as a Junior Specialist in climate smart agricultural research. In the role of F3-ESF Junior Specialist, you will be actively involved in the entire research process in our experimental smart farm and the Farms-Food-Future Innovation program, and in the development of UC Merced as an Agricultural Experiment Station. Key responsibilities include but are not limited to assisting with the design, planning, and execution of applied agricultural research studies needed to build the ESF. You may be expected to collect, manage, and analyze data derived from the application of various smart farming technologies, as well as coordinating and performing routine maintenance and troubleshooting tasks for our state-of-the-art farming equipment. Filled positions will span both laboratory and field settings, including time sensitive fieldwork activities, such as planting and harvesting, composting, irrigation management, safe tractor operations (e.g., skid steer, front-end loaders, forklifts), and minor equipment repairs. Laboratory activities will include, but not be limited to data systems administration, geospatial analysis (GIS and/or remote sensing), and processing of field data. Clear and effective communications from research findings, both through written reports and oral presentations, are a key part of the position as it will require working in close collaboration with senior researchers, faculty, and other relevant community advisors. Compliance with all safety and ethical standards is mandatory. Alternate work schedule, extended days, occasional weekends, and occasional travel are required. This is an exempt position.


Basic qualifications

• Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture, Computer Science, Environmental Science, Agricultural Engineering, Environmental Engineering, or a related field
• Strong organizational and problem-solving skills with excellent attention to detail and contribute to innovative solutions to complex research challenges
• Demonstrated excellence in written, verbal, and visual communication skills for reporting research findings and recommendations
• Ability to work independently on assigned tasks and activities, as well as with other team members
• Ability to use digital tools, not limited to Microsoft products (Word, Excel)
• Ability to work and use sound judgement in outdoor work environments under difficult environmental conditions, such as heat and cold
• Ability to obtain and maintain a California Driver’s License
• Ability to obtain and maintain successful training in safe tractor and drone operations

Preferred qualifications

• At least 1-2 years of experience conducting or participating in applied agricultural research, preferably in a smart farm environment.
• Experience working in a farming environment, including safe operation of machinery.
• Experience using various farming technologies, such as drones, sensors, and automation systems, to collect and analyze data.
• Knowledge of modern farming practices and principles, including regenerative and/or sustainable agriculture.
• Experience in conducting fieldwork, such as soil sampling, plant pathology, crop science, or animal agriculture.
• Familiarity with geospatial, IoT and AI technologies used in precision agriculture, and applied statistics.
• Knowledge of one or more programming languages, such as Python or R

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter

Reference requirements
  • 3 required (contact information only)

Please list three names of potential references and contact information.

Apply link:

Help contact:

About UC Merced

The University of California, Merced, is the newest of the University of California system’s 10 campuses. With over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students (, UC Merced is committed to interdisciplinary excellence in research and teaching as well as to diversity, equity and inclusion. Ranked as one of the best public universities in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, UC Merced provides outstanding educational opportunities to highly qualified students from the heart of California, the nation, and abroad. The campus has special connections to nearby Yosemite National Park; is on the cutting edge of sustainability in construction and design; and supports the economic development of Central California. The Merced 2020 Project doubled the physical capacity of the campus, and enhanced academic distinction, student success, and research excellence (

The University of California, Merced is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer advancing inclusive excellence. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, protected veteran status, or other protected categories covered by the UC nondiscrimination policy.

As a University employee, you will be required to comply with all applicable University policies and/or collective bargaining agreements, as may be amended from time to time. Federal, state, or local government directives may impose additional requirements. This includes the University of California Policy on Vaccination Programs:

Job location

Merced, CA