SDSU Extension hiring towards Food Security
It is estimated that by 2050 the planet will reach 9.1 billion people, 34 percent more than today. To be able to feed this population, food production must increase by 70 percent.
“Regardless of where this population growth happens, we need to step up as a food-producing state and nation and contribute to reduce social unrests spurred by food shortages,” said Alvaro Garcia, SDSU Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Program Director & SDSU Professor.
Garcia said SDSU Extension will prioritize programming of profitable, productive systems that do not negatively impact the environment. From this perspective, Garcia said SDSU Extension is making an effort during 2015 to fill positions critical to improve the state’s agricultural economy and the overall well-being of its people. Positions which are in the process of being advertised include:
SDSU Extension Weeds Field Specialist
“Weeds undermine food security by competing with agricultural and horticultural crops, invading pastures, and even in some cases posing health dangers to livestock,” Garcia said.
Weeds introduced into an ecosystem result in greater needs of additional management practices to get rid of them (more fossil fuel use) and/or the need to apply herbicides.
The SDSU Extension Weeds Field Specialist will develop and disseminate research-based programming and resources on weeds in support of producers growing the major field crops across South Dakota. This person will also work in Integrated Pest Management program monitoring, using decision-management guidelines and promoting the use of a variety of pest management strategies.
SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist
By 2050 about 70 percent of the world’s population will be urban compared to the current 49 percent. Locally produced foods will undoubtedly play a significant role in helping feed part of this population.
“Urban agriculture enhances communities’ sustainability by supporting varying levels of socioeconomic development,” Garcia said. “Food security, nutrition, and income generation will be key motivators for this to happen.”
The SDSU Extension Consumer Horticulture Field Specialist will delve deeply into the development of local food hubs enhancing the access to fresh vegetables and fruits grown locally. This Field Specialist will develop and disseminate research-based programming and resources across South Dakota in support of home and backyard gardeners.
SDSU Extension Water Resource Field Specialist
Water will become a future sought-after commodity both in the U.S. and elsewhere, Garcia explained. “It is expected the west and southwest of the U.S. will remain under drier than normal conditions for the foreseeable future,” he said.
This position is considered by SDSU Extension as a critical one to help handle water resources adequately. The SDSU Extension Water Resource Field Specialist will develop Extension programming related to water issues associated with agricultural production.
The Field Specialist will develop specific programming in areas such as: agricultural water conservation and management; best management practices to reduce non-point source pollution from agricultural, rural, and urban sources, animal waste management systems, total maximum daily load programs, climate impacts on water resources, and irrigation and drainage systems.
SDSU Extension Crops Field Specialist
There were 5.3 million acres of corn planted and 6.2 million tons harvested in South Dakota during 2014.
The state is in the top 10 in the country for several crops as follows: corn grain (6), soybeans (8), wheat for grain (6) and winter wheat for grain (8), and sunflowers (1).
“When dealing with food security however, food production is usually expressed in crops or livestock per capita,” Garcia said. “South Dakota leads the U.S. in all these agricultural crops since it produces far more than it consumes.”
Because of the impact for the state both from a food security and socio-economic development standpoints this was considered high priority. As a result, two SDSU Extension Crops Field Specialist positions were made available, one in Winner and the other in Mitchell.
These Field Specialists will provide strong regional and statewide leadership in delivering research-based programming in the Competitive Crops Capstone area.
The SDSU Extension Crops Field Specialist will develop and disseminate research-based programming and resources in support of producers growing the major field crops across South Dakota.
SDSU Extension Livestock Field Specialist
Cattle production suffered a retraction during 2014 in the U.S. and South Dakota. The state was seventh in the country in cattle and calves on farms trailing closely to Iowa and Missouri. When cattle and calves on farms are considered on a per capita basis however, South Dakota again leads the country with 4.3 animals per person. Based on this information, SDSU Extension deemed it critical to fill the position of SDSU Extension Livestock Field Specialist.
This individual will provide strong regional and statewide leadership in delivering research-based programming in the Competitive Livestock capstone area.
“South Dakota is clearly an agricultural state, farm size triples that of the rest of the U.S. with one farm every 25 residents compared to one every 154 for the nation,” Garcia said. “The state is not only in the top 10 in the U.S. in production of the main agricultural crops and in cattle and calves on farms, but it is also number one on per capita production.”
During 2014, the state had 31,700 farms in 43.3 million acres farmed with an average farm size of 1,353 acres.
The South Dakota agricultural industry has an economic impact of $20.9 billion each year and it’s responsible directly or indirectly of employing more than 10 percent of its citizens.
To learn more and apply for these positions, visit https://yourfuture.sdbor.edu.
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