Johnny's Selected Seeds
  • Albion, ME, USA
  • Full Time

Health , Dental, Vision, 401(k), STD, LTD, Basic Life, Voluntary Life, Pet Insurance

Research Operations Manager

Position Summary
The primary function of this position is the strategic oversight and management of Johnny's Selected Seeds (JSS) research operations and farm sites. The position is based at the JSS research farm in Albion Maine and reports to the Vice President of Research and Development. Our ten farm sites are certified organic or managed as sustainable and low-input and include a total of 85 farmed acres. In addition, ten unheated high tunnels and five heated greenhouses provide 50K square feet of protected cultivation. Our research is focused on finding or breeding outstanding varieties of vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, and thoughtfully designed tools and equipment for Mixed Market Growers and Avid Home Gardeners. The JSS farming operations is part of a larger integrated Plant Breeding and Product Development team that breeds and trials a large and diverse number of vegetables, flowers, herbs, and fruit varieties each year, as well as in-use evaluation of tools and supplies The maintenance and appearance of the research facilities is essential to our business. The research farm is a destination for our suppliers and customers to experience our operations and view our trials. International and domestic seed supply companies visit our farm, meet with our staff, and discuss trial results. The JSS farming operations also support the seed production of many proprietary varieties and parent lines. The farm also manages a comprehensive "Up for Grabs" produce program for employees and charity. The Farm Operations Manager and Greenhouse Operations Manager report to this position. Four full-time staff and approximately 30 part-time farm crew members annually report into these roles.

Manage the success of crops in the open fields and greenhouses at all sites and isolation farms
Ensure farming operations support trialing and breeding objectives
Oversight and management of soil health and improvement including annual soil testing, cover crop selection and planning, and cover crop maintenance and destruction
Annual and long-term development of farm crop plans
Develop and manage the annual operating budget
Develop and manage capital investment plan, expenses, and equipment
Resource allocations and management
Support the successful delivery of on-farm seed crops for the Seed Production and Breeding departments
Ensure phytosanitary protocols are established and followed for plant and seed health
Develop and set key performance metrics for the quality and productivity of crop programs
Evaluation of agronomic practices and development of recommendations
Review, document, and update crop protocols and management procedures
Conduct periodic crop walks and reviews with Product Development, Breeding, and Seed Production teams
Setting safety standards and ensuring compliance
Transportation and logistics planning
Organic farm certification
Irrigation infrastructure and design
Farm land lease management
Interdepartmental communications
Development of department goals and priorities
Staff recruitment and hiring
Management of direct reports and performance reviews
Support and mentor employee development plans
Promote Johnny's mission and R&D activities through public workshops and forums as needed.

An advanced college degree in horticulture, agriculture, or agronomy, or the equivalent experience
Applied knowledge of organic and sustainable farming operations is required
Applied knowledge of growing a diverse number of vegetable crops is required

Qualifications & Skills
Five or more years of experience with research farm management
Good leadership skills with the ability to set direction and empower employees
Ability to define and set short- and long- term priorities across a diverse range of objectives
Experience with strategic long- term planning of resources and facilities
Good communication, negotiation, and listening skills is required
Knowledge and ten years or more experience with organic and sustainable farming practices
Ten or more years of experience managing farm operations of 20 or more acres
Ten years of experience managing farm labor and farm crews of 15-30 or more members
Ten or more years of production experience with fruity, leafy, root, and bulb vegetable crops
Five or more years of experience with irrigation management of vegetable crops
Five or more years of experience as a line manager including performance reviews and development plans
Experience conducting agricultural research experiments and trials, trial design, and implementation is preferred
Experience with commercial vegetable seed production is preferred
Ability to operate a variety of small- scale farming equipment and implements used on vegetable farms
Experience working with research and plant scientists is preferred
Experience with Mixed Market Farmers and Home Gardeners is desirable
Ability to host visitors and articulate Johnny's mission
A creative thinker with innovative and practical solutions
A good work ethic and comfortable with hands-on activities in the field
A positive job attitude and enjoy working with a diverse group of people.
Good computer skills with experience using the Microsoft software suite of programs
Certified in safety, first aid, and CPR is desirable

Physical Requirements
Ability to work in farm fields and greenhouses under adverse or extreme weather conditions
Travel as needed both domestically & internationally
Freely access all areas and locations of the business
Sit and work at a computer workstation for extended periods of time.
Ability to operate common farm equipment.

Health Insurance (HMO, PPO, HSA)
Dental Insurance
Vision Insurance
Flexible Spending Account (Medical & Dependent Care)
Employee Stock Ownership Plan & Profit Sharing
Employee Discount
Maternity/Paternity/Adoption & Foster Care Leave
Company Paid Life Insurance
Voluntary Life Insurance
Voluntary Pet Insurance
Company Paid Short- & Long-Term Disability Insurance
Paid Time Off
Educational Assistance

Johnny's Selected Seeds is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate against otherwise qualified applicants on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, age, sex, marital status, national origin, disability or handicap, or veteran status.

JOHNNY'S SELECTED SEEDS was established in 1973 by our Founder and Chairman, Rob Johnston, Jr. Today we are 100% Employee Owned. Johnny's mission is "Helping families, friends, and communities to feed one another by providing superior seeds, tools, information, and service." 

Johnny's is renowned for our exceptional customer service offering seeds, tools, supplies, and information to direct-market growers and avid home gardeners. We source, breed, trial, and sell outstanding selected varieties of vegetables, cut flowers, herbs, and farm seed, as well as thoughtfully designed tools and equipment. We take pride in the wealth of information and depth of experience we offer our customer base, nationwide and globally.

We are a strong, stable company focused on growth while still maintaining our small company feel and staying true to our roots. Beautiful Central Maine, where our research farm, warehouse, and offices are located, is the perfect launching point for an active, four-season lifestyle. Geographically situated halfway between Maine's mountains and its 4,500 mile-long coastline, we're a short drive away from resorts, parks, and harbors renowned for a rich diversity of recreational and cultural opportunities.

If you are passionate about good, healthy food and would choose to work for a company with fellow co-owners who are passionate about our mission and values, Johnny's may be the place for you!


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