Research Associate

Apply now Job no: 501782
Position type: Full-Time 12-Month
Department: 080300 - FWRC-Wildlife,Fisheries&Aquaculture
Location: Main Campus - Starkville, MS
Categories: Professional
Position Open Date:

Position Function:

Mississippi State University is seeking a self-motivated individual with a passion for conservation in working agricultural landscapes to provide technical assistance to agricultural producers in the Blackland Prairie Region of northeast Mississippi by integrating precision agriculture tools and technologies with wildlife conservation and Farm Bill programmatic knowledge. The individual’s primary responsibility is to deliver precision conservation planning technical assistance that fully integrates wildlife conservation, producer profitability, and program eligibility, within the Blackland Prairie region of Northeast Mississippi using precision agriculture tools and technologies. This will be accomplished through a partnership between Mississippi State University, the Mississippi State Office of USDA-NRCS, NRCS County/Area offices and other strategic partners (PF/QF, Wildlife Mississippi, MDWFP). The individual is expected to provide strategic technical assistance to producers and landowners through objective-driven conservation planning, educational workshops and field days that increases adoption of conservation practices in working agricultural landscapes of the Blackland Prairie.

Salary Grade:  13

Please see Staff Compensation Structure or Skilled Crafts and Service Maintenance Compensation Schedule for salary ranges.  For salary grade UC, these positions are "Unclassified" and salary ranges are determined by the hiring department.

Department Profile:

Mississippi State University is a top-ranked research institution and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture (WFA) has a strong applied focus in wildlife conservation and management. The 35-member faculty within the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Aquaculture leads one of the most productive research programs in the Division of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. The department is well-known for its highly collegial and interdisciplinary faculty, post-doctoral fellows, research and extension associates that help make the department one of the premier institutions for applied wildlife and fisheries science in the nation. As one of the fastest growing undergraduate programs in the region, our 300 undergraduate students concentrate in wildlife agriculture science, human-wildlife interactions, conservation biology, wildlife veterinary medicine, conservation law enforcement, and wildlife, fisheries and aquaculture science. The department also houses 60 graduate students across a variety of programs. For additional information see and

Area of Specialization:

Precision Agriculture/Conservation

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

1. Independently evaluates agricultural landscapes, producer profitability, and eligibility for Farm Bill programs within the Blackland Prairie Region of northeast Mississippi.
2. Analyzes agricultural producer limitations to and develops innovative solutions for profitable conservation delivery by integrating precision agriculture tools and technologies.
3. Plans, coordinates and conducts workshops and field demonstrations to educate agricultural producers on available conservation and economic opportunities in the Farm Bill.
4. Plans, coordinates, and conducts scientific data collection requiring judgment in the independent evaluation, selection, and substantial adaptation and modification of standard scientific techniques.
5. Collects, analyzes, and interprets data; prepares statistical and narrative reports and/or graphs, as appropriate to the specific position; prepares manuscripts for publication; presents research results to scientific conferences and other groups.
6. Applies an analytical approach to the solution of a wide variety of problems, or applies specialized techniques or ingenuity in selecting and evaluating approaches to unforeseen or novel problems.
7. Demonstrates and applies thorough understanding of scientific methods, research protocols, assessment instruments, and data interpretation.
8. Designs, performs, and/or oversees data collection to ensure data integrity, quality control, and protocol compliance.
9. Ensures proper care in the use and maintenance of equipment and supplies; promotes continuous improvement of workplace safety and environmental practices.
10. Maintains currency of knowledge with respect to relevant state-of-the-art technology, equipment, and/or systems.
11. May lead, guide, and train staff/student employees, interns, and/or volunteers performing related work; may participate in the recruitment of volunteers, as appropriate to the area of operation.
12. Performs miscellaneous job-related duties as assigned.

Minimum Qualifications:

Bachelor’s degree in precision agriculture, agronomy, or natural resource related field (wildlife ecology, environmental science, geography). Passion for conservation, familiarity with agricultural systems.
Rank and salary will be commensurate with education and/or other experience.

Preferred Qualifications:

Experience working in agricultural conservation or natural resource planning. Master’s degree in precision agriculture, agronomy, or natural resource related field (wildlife ecology, environmental science, geography). Experience working on a farm operation, working directly with farmers in some capacity, experience with precision agriculture technologies.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

- Knowledge of farming systems (operations, equipment, challenges, etc.)
- Familiarity with Farm Bill conservation programs and practices
- Excellent communication skills (experience with private landowners)
- Proficiency with geospatial software (e.g., ArcMap, QGIS), geodatabases, and Excel spreadsheets.
- Knowledge of farmland wildlife habitat requirements and management practices
- Familiarity with scientific literature on wildlife response to Farm Bill conservation practices.

Working Conditions and Physical Effort

Exposure, often significant, to inclement weather, heat, cold, mud, insects, wildlife and other potential complications of outdoor settings. Often exposed to one or more elements such as heat, cold, noise, dust, dirt, chemicals, etc.

Physical effort/activity will be required, must be able to lift up to 50 pounds unassisted. Job frequently involves bending or other physical exertion.

Job requires frequent sitting, standing, walking, grasping objects with hands, communicating verbally and in writing.

Frequent travel to and working in remote/rural areas in the community.

Occasional overnight travel, evening, and weekend work.

The ability to work after normal work hours during peak seasons will be required.

Instructions for Applying:

Apply via and submit resume and cover letter. Send unofficial transcripts with social security numbers redacted to Mark McConnell,

Restricted Clause:

Position is contingent upon funding availability. 

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement:

MSU is an equal opportunity employer, and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, ethnicity, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation, genetic information, pregnancy, gender identity, status as a U.S. veteran, and/or any other status protected by applicable law. We always welcome nominations and applications from women, members of any minority group, and others who share our passion for building a diverse community that reflects the diversity in our student population.

Advertised: Central Standard Time
Applications close:

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