Agricultural innovation using new crops on underproductive land.
Terviva is a California-based start-up that is commercializing Pongamia pinnata as a new horticultural tree crop. Pongamia is a legume tree producing an annual crop of seeds rich in inedible vegetable oil and protein. Pongamia is native to tropical and subtropical climates, with horticultural characteristics generally similar to other fruit and nut trees, and with market characteristics similar to soybeans (i.e., vegetable oil and protein for animal feed).
Terviva has a library of pongamia varieties sourced primarily from India and Australia. We are in early commercialization of acreage in both Florida and Hawaii. In Florida, we are working with 7 of the top, large citrus growers, who are exploring the use of pongamia as a drop-in replacement for abandoned citrus acreage. In Hawaii, we are planting acreage on the North Shore of Oahu, in partnership with one of Hawaii’s largest landowners and the US Navy. For more information, please see www.terviva.com, and our blog, ag2point0.com.
Job Description and Responsibilities
Incumbent will work primarily on TerViva’s tree development and field agronomy functions. Incumbent must demonstrate a strong technical background with experience in applied biology, horticulture, silviculture and/or commercial agriculture. Strong empirical skills, data management, and attention to detail are necessary. Incumbent will work mostly under the guidance of a new hire Manager of Tree Development (candidates currently being evaluated, with support of TerViva’s Director of Florida Operations, Peter McClure and TerViva’s Director of Tree Development, David Harry.
The position requires domestic and international travel; within Florida, incumbent will visit fields and nursery operations on a regular basis, and outside of Florida, incumbent will make trips as necessary to California and Hawaii. Strong interpersonal skills are needed for interfacing with research partners, business associates, government agencies, and other members of the TerViva team. The ability to collect, organize and summarize field data are extremely important. Additional skills in field note taking, photography, and GIS / GPS methods are strongly desired. Incumbent will be responsible for making sure that pertinent information from the field is documented clearly, succinctly, and professionally. This often involves working with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word.
The successful candidate must possess a “can-do” attitude, be a self-starter, and proactively organize all areas of their work. TerViva is a fast paced start up company where team members are asked to think on their feet, and react to a wide variety of situations. Candidate will be called upon to understand the bigger issue at hand so that he or she can improvise intelligently as variables change. Candidate will be reporting to multiple people on different areas and tasks, and so must manage time, prioritize, and communicate effectively in order to remain productive.
• Field data gathering and analysis
o Revise and implement our 2015 procedures for monitoring flowering and pod formation in FL
o Support the capture of data across the fields, including the coordination of field crews that will help to gather data
o Support the analysis of data using statistics, and develop presentations on the information
• Establishment and analysis of new, multi-year field trials
o Establish and evaluate various trials in Florida including: performance of rooted cuttings vs. grafts, herbicide tolerance, pollination behavior, fertilizers, fruit ripeners, and cold tolerance
o Coordinate on protocols and data gathering for certain aspects of these trials that will also be replicated in other geographies (e.g., Hawaii)
• Monitoring and improvement grower pilots
o Document management activities at each of current 12 Pilot sites to date
o Develop a guide to best management practices for pongamia in Florida
o Develop presentations for growers to help them understand the data in their fields
o Deliver additional acres to growers for planting
o Coordinate new plantings with growers such that they are additive to other field trials
o Install and field-test site-monitoring equipment
• Development of mechanized harvesting know-how
o Implement and oversee in-field pruning and form management
o Evaluate equipment vendors, select trial equipment, and coordinate logistics of trials
o Document performance and results of harvesting trials, including harvesting economics
• Support of propagation-related activities in Florida
o On an as needed basis, work with the propagation team on motherstock improvement, inventory tracking and tree stock production
Required Skills and education
• Bachelor’s degree from recognized national university, with a strong GPA; masters preferred
• Excellent understanding of plant biology, horticulture, and tree crop agronomy
• Technical background in a biological discipline (preferably plant or agriculture) desired
• Strong written and verbal communication
• Excellent time management and prioritization skills
• Data management (mostly excel, but competence with other database software desired)
• Experience with GIS / GPS and agriculture statistics programs
• Experience with grant writing
• Experience with USDA APHIS
• Strong familiarity with Microsoft Excel, PowerPoint, and Word
• Attention to detail
• Spanish speaking abilities (not mandatory but desirable)
• Driver’s license and strong navigational skills (need to be able to navigate to various locations using coordinates, conventional addresses, Google map images, KMZ files, and other tools)
Salary & Benefits:
• Between $52,000.00 and 64,000.00 annual salary, commensurate with experience.
• Health care insurance (employee premiums fully paid by company)
• Stock option grant, commensurate with experience and role
Eduardo A. Martinez
Director of Operations
TerViva Bioenergy, Inc.
436 14th Street
Oakland CA 94612
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