Viticulture Extension Educator

Website Cornell Cooperative Extension Administration

Summary Statement of Purpose and Responsibilities

Provide commercial grape growers / producers with the knowledge and resources necessary to assess production and management practices that will enhance their profitability and sustain the growth of the juice and wine grape industry in the Lake Erie region.

Specific Job Functions and Responsibilities

Program Development, Implementation and Evaluation (50%)

  • Provide leadership for planning, implementing and evaluating educational programs that addresses producer-identified needs and opportunities. Emphasis is on grape production including: soil and site selection, growth control, nutrition and water management, and harvest management.
  • Provide producers and industry with a framework to analyze production and management alternatives and to maximize profit opportunities based on emerging best-management practices, new varieties, consumer market demands, and opportunities for diversification.
  • Plan and implement educational programs utilizing a variety of methods including direct teaching through group experiences, mass media, newsletters, electronic technology and distance learning.
  • Conduct one-on-one consultations with key producers and industry partners related to program development and problem solving.
  • Define and develop reporting mechanisms for producer-focused “measurable” outcomes.
  • Analyze and evaluate major program efforts with the input of all program partners and make recommendations for enhancing these efforts.
  • Communicate evaluation results, findings, and recommendations as appropriate.
  • Prepare quarterly reports and yearly impact statements on program progress and accomplishments.
  • Support the efforts of industry organizations and partners to extend production information.

Applied Research (20%)

  • Initiate and conduct field demonstrations and in-depth applied research projects appropriate to the needs of commercial grape production in the Lake Erie Region. When necessary, pursue funding to support projects.
  • Initiate and participate in statewide, collaborative research projects with university and extension faculty and staff as well as other agencies and organizations.
  • Define and implement reporting mechanisms for producer-focused “measurable” outcomes.
  • Meet the evaluation and reporting requirements of funding partners.

Program Management (15%)

  • Assume responsibility for routine program operations, reporting and accountability.
  • Support team efforts in communicating with program stakeholders and partners.
  • Support team efforts in planning and implementing regional and statewide events.
  • Individually and collaboratively explore and pursue new and additional funding sources to enhance and extend program opportunities.

Organizational Leadership (10%)

  • Support Cornell University and Cooperative Extension system-wide initiatives through participation in program development work teams, ad-hoc committees and advisory groups.
  • Participate in regional, statewide and national program development work groups related to the work of Cornell University, Cooperative Extension and the Grape Industry.
  • Foster strong collaboration among faculty, peers, and industry.
  • Establish and maintain positive relationships with the many individuals and groups that support the work of the organization.

Professional Improvement (5%)

  • Participate in professional development opportunities appropriate to program and personal skill enhancement.
  • Participate in related professional organizations.



  • Masters Degree in Agriculture from an accredited institution with a major in Viticulture, Horticulture, Pomology or closely associated field.
  • 2+ years of relevant work experience in Agribusiness, Crop Production, Cooperative Extension, or closely related fields.
  • Experience in conducting, interpreting, evaluating and communicating the results of applied research.
  • Knowledge of the philosophy, objectives and operation of an informal education system such as Cornell Cooperative Extension.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with proven ability to work with diverse audiences in group and one-on-one settings; ability to work effectively with advisory boards and committees, community and funding partners.
  • Proven organizational and time-management skills.
  • Ability to define, conduct and interpret applied research and demonstration projects.
  • Experience in writing grant proposals.
  • Strong leadership and teamwork skills.
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills.
  • Fundamental competence utilizing current technology as a management and program delivery tool (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, Internet and Web development).
  • Appreciation of Agriculture as a business and as a lifestyle.
  • Creativity, energy, motivation and positive enthusiasm.
  • Ability to meet the travel requirements of the job.
  • Ability to work evenings and weekends as essential job functions require.
  • Must possess or have the ability to acquire a New York State Certified Pesticide Applicators License within one year from start date.
  • Must be able to meet the travel requirements of the position, and have reliable transportation as well as have and maintain a valid and unrestricted New York State or Pennsylvania State driver’s license.


  • Coursework in Weed Science, Crop Production, GIS, Economics of Production, Pest Management, Plant Pathology, Soils, Adult Education, and Communications.
  • Solid knowledge in current and emerging issues and production practices related to bulk juice / wine grape production based on 3+ years of relevant work experience.
  • Experience in initiating and conducting field demonstrations and in-depth applied research on general viticulture topics, including soil fertility, mechanization, and vine size management.
  • Knowledge and / or experience in current and emerging Grape and Wine Production and Marketing practices.
  • Successful experience obtaining external funding, including grants and industry support.


Administrative direction and guidance provided by the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program Extension Team Leader and the Regional Agriculture Program Coordinator.

Program development guidance and support provided by Statewide Viticulture Extension Specialist.

Academic oversight and guidance provided by designated Faculty and Extension Associates in the Department of Horticulture Sciences.

Program oversight and direction provided by program advisory groups comprised of Executive Directors of partner Extension Associations, producers and industry partners.

Administrative and Program Relationships


Work as a member of a four-person team as well as existing regional, multi-county and statewide teams and work groups.

Work closely with faculty and administration at Cornell and Penn State Universities, AgriTech in Geneva, New York, Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland, New York as well as the Lake Erie Regional Center for Grape Research and Extension in North East, Pennsylvania.

Build collaborative relationships and maintain timely and effective communication with County Extension Associations and other State Specialists to maximize statewide impact.


Build and maintain effective relationships with producers, processors, and winery representatives.

Develop and maintain effective communication and working relationships with appropriate agribusiness, industry partners, other educational institutions and governmental agencies and organizations.

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