Salary: $65,748.00 – $88,416.00 Annually
Location: Multiple Locations Statewide, WA
Job Type: Full Time – Permanent
Remote Employment: Flexible/Hybrid
Job Number:2023-08080
Department: Dept. of Agriculture
Division: Director’s Office
Opening Date: 07/03/2023
Closing Date: Continuous

The Natural Resources Assessment Section (NRAS) works at the interface between agricultural production and environmental quality. Research topics include agricultural land use practices, pesticide usage, agricultural chemicals in surface water and groundwater, soil health, and climate change. Collectively, NRAS programs serve to help protect public health and the environment while supporting agricultural viability throughout Washington’s diverse cropping systems.

This position serves as the WSDA Agronomist, working closely with the agency’s Dairy Nutrient Management Program (DNMP) in the lower Yakima Valley groundwater management area (GWMA), to reduce nitrate pollution from irrigated agriculture. The agronomist will lead GWMA partners on research of best management practices (BMPs) for reducing nitrate contamination in the groundwater, with the goal of increasing implementation of BMPs via outreach, extension, and the development of decision support tools. Relevant topics include “4Rs” for crop-specific fertilizer and irrigation management strategies and monitoring and verification of the efficacy of implemented BMPs. The agronomist will work closely with the GWMA implementation committee, DNMP, South Yakima conservation district staff, growers, and commodity groups, by providing scientific council and technical assistance.

Position and Salary Information
WSDA is recruiting for a full-time permanent Agronomist (Natural Resource Scientist 3) position within the Natural Resources Assessment Section in the Director’s Office. This position has been approved for a telework schedule and will need to report to a WSDA regional office located in Yakima, Washington. This position is non-represented.

The base pay offered will take into account internal equity and may vary depending on the preferred candidate’s job-related knowledge, skills, and experience. The typical starting salary range for this position is: $ 65,748.00 – $ 86,208.00 annually. 
In addition to the salary listed above, incumbents assigned to our Seattle office location receive an additional 5% King County Location Pay stipend. If a position is designated as requiring dual language skills, incumbents will also receive a 5% Dual Language Requirement Pay stipend.

Employees who voluntarily provide proof of up-to-date COVID-19 booster vaccination, which must include any recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) at the time proof is provided to the employer, between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, will receive a one-time lump sum payment of $1,000 to be paid no earlier than July 25, 2023.

Include, but not limited to:

  • Designs research and interprets data for the development of BMPs for nutrient and irrigation applications that lead to minimal nitrogen leakage through soil, water, and atmospheric loss pathways.
  • Determines updated optimal rates and timing for commercial fertilizer and manure applications on regional crops using local application techniques and irrigation practices.
  • Determines optimal irrigation rates and timing for regional crops based on water delivery schedules, climate projections, soil textures, etc.
  • Collects and analyzes data from current literature, existing GWMA projects, the WSDA nitrogen availability study, deep soil sampling and well monitoring datasets, WSDA tonnage reports, and primary experimentation as necessary.
  • Gathers updated data as needed on organic and synthetic fertilizer use.
  • Coordinates with university partners on past, current, and future research.
  • Depending on program growth and direction, grant writing and contract management may be required.
  • Works with DNMP and other partners to successfully implement best management strategies targeted at reducing nitrate leaching to groundwater.
  • Oversees all aspects of the development of research results into extension products such as factsheets, videos, grower field days, site assessments, reports, presentations, and decision support tools.
  • Designs and executes experiments to better understand the efficacy of BMPs to reduce nutrient leaching to groundwater.
  • Conducts surveys, analyzes experimental results, and maintains awareness of current literature, to determine program effectiveness.
  • Develops and distributes new fertilizer and irrigation recommendations based on best management practices.
  • Provides technical assistance in the development of irrigation water and nutrient management plans.
  • Provides appropriate fertilizer and irrigation recommendations at field days, site visits, and through the development of outreach materials and decision support tools.


  • A Bachelor’s degree in agronomy, agricultural or natural sciences AND Four (4) years of experience working with fertilizers, nutrients, irrigation, agriculture production management and agriculture impacts to natural resources, and demonstrated knowledge of agronomy, soils, soil health, plant science, production management, hydrogeology, and water quality.


  • A Master’s of Science in a similar field will account for two (2) years of experience.


  • A PhD degree in a similar field will substitute for all years of experience.


  • Must be able to obtain a valid driver’s license as travel will be required for this position.

In addition to the above qualifications, the following desired knowledge, skills, and abilities would make your application more competitive:  

  • Demonstrated understanding of the principles, practices, benefits, and barriers to adoption of BMPs and conservation practices.
  • Experience working with local government, state, and/or federal agencies on agronomic topics.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to work with diverse stakeholders. 
  • Programming and statistical analysis skills in Python, R, and ArcGIS preferred.
  • Record of peer reviewed publications in scientific journals, extension publications, or agency reports.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills, including the ability to communicate technical and scientific information to diverse audiences, and to convene and moderate meetings with diverse attendees.

How to apply
You must complete your profile and answer the supplemental questions. In addition to completing the online application, and supplemental questions applicants must attach the following documents to their profile to be considered for this position:

· Current resume detailing experience and education

· A cover letter describing how you meet the specific qualifications for this position.

· Three professional references 

For more information and to apply:

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