Commerce Specialist 3
The Washington State Department of Agriculture services the people of Washington by supporting the agricultural community and promoting consumer and environmental protection.
The Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) has been serving the state’s agriculture community and the public for more than 100 years. Through service, regulation, and advocacy, WSDA supports the viability and vitality of agriculture while protecting consumers, public health and the environment. We employ anywhere from 750-1,200 employees in fields like brand inspection, food safety, international marketing, environmental science, and information technology. While we do have offices statewide, this position is located in Seattle, WA.
As the Commerce Specialist 3 you will use your comprehensive knowledge of small farm and direct/regional markets to offer education, outreach, and technical assistance to help increase market opportunities for Washington’s food and agriculture business. As part of a close-knit team, you and 3 other Commerce Specialists will support the development of emerging markets by educating buyers and consumers, and by designing and sharing education and marketing materials to help consumers recognize the value of Washington-grown foods. This full-time project position is anticipated to last through June 30, 2019.
The ability to develop and facilitate adult education and trainings, spot strategic opportunities, connect with a wide audience and develop a good rapport with a wide range of stakeholders will be critical to the success of this position. Our ideal applicant will have knowledge and experience with Washington agriculture and markets, experience developing and conducting training and providing technical assistance for farmers, processors or buyers, and the ability to build and maintain productive relationships with a variety of individuals and organizations.
For more information about the Washington State Department of Agriculture, visit us at www.agr.wa.gov
What you will be doing:
Plan, develop, and coordinate education and outreach programs to support direct marketing, institutional markets, and local supply chains, and promote local food systems in Washington State.
- Design and deliver productive and customizable training models and programs to assist farmers, ranchers, processors, distributors, food hubs, small retailers and buyers to increase sales of Washington-grown and processed foods in a variety of regional markets.
- Develop and maintain cooperative relationships with relevant local, state, and federal government agencies, businesses, community organizations, and universities and other partners and stakeholders.
- Maintain current knowledge of regulatory changes and market trends through engagement with partners, government announcement services, other reputable sources and individual expertise.
- Collaborate with government, nonprofit, and private sector partners to identify priority topics in order to offer relevant workshops and events across the state. This includes recruiting event hosts and speakers, conducting local outreach and maintaining stakeholder engagement by disseminating information and updates.
- Represent WSDA by developing, leading and facilitating WSDA education and outreach events. Familiar with adult education techniques and comfortable with presenting information in a variety of ways to ensure audience engagement.
Promote food and agriculture business success, local food supply chain development, and strong local agricultural economies through technical assistance and guidance to Washington farms, food businesses, buyers, local governments, nonprofits and individual stakeholders.
- Initiate and facilitate discussions between businesses, agencies, institutions and universities on complex issues wherein policies, regulations, market requirements and recommended best practices may conflict with current farming culture and common practice.
- Maintain specialized expertise and up-to-date knowledge in designated topic areas relating to small farm business practices and local food purchasing.
- Provide technical assistance to farms and food businesses to help them understand and successfully navigate regulatory change and implement feasible, cost-effective on-farm and market practices.
- Represent the agency on work groups, task forces, commissions or other industry or local economic development committees as needed to share accurate and up-to-date information, policies and best practices and inform efforts to support local supply chains, economic development, public health, or other agriculture-related goals.
Policy analysis and recommendations to increase producer access to institutional and direct markets and state food contracts, to strengthen incentives within federal, state, local and school district purchasing systems for serving Washington-grown food, and to identify and communicate to the appropriate agencies the barriers and opportunities that may be created by current or proposed policies.
- Maintain current knowledge of local, state, and federal policy trends, both legislative and administrative, that may affect Washington’s agricultural producers, food businesses, and markets.
- Develop and propose solutions regarding stakeholder challenges and business barriers to WSDA and other government agencies whose regulatory functions affect the viability and success of agricultural businesses in Washington.
- Plan and facilitate meetings, listening sessions and committees and represent WSDA in such meetings in order to provide accurate policy and regulatory information and to learn about stakeholder concerns and relationship to policies, regulations, and market trends in order to share with agency leadership and local, state, and federal policy makers.
- Represent WSDA at public events and in the media. Serve on advisory, working groups or commissions. May be asked to provide testimony in the Legislature. Maintains professional standards and exercise sound judgement in providing accurate, up-to-date, and relevant information to the public on sometimes complex or contentious topics.
- Serve on grant review committees and other planning groups, such as WSDA Specialty Crop Block grant and local funding programs, and make recommendations for project funding.
What we are looking for:
- Bachelor’s degree agriculture, agribusiness, sales, marketing, or closely related field. Equivalent professional experience may be substituted for education.
- Minimum of three years’ experience in agricultural direct and/or institutional marketing, farm business planning, food processing or distribution or other closely related field.
- Familiarity with Washington agriculture and markets and related regulatory requirements; up-to-date knowledge about regulations relevant to small farms and food businesses from licensing and permits to on-farm food safety practices, voluntary certifications, and mandatory federal food safety standards.
- Excellent interpersonal, communication, and organization skills including experience coordinating efforts of multiple partners and managing projects with overlapping timelines.
- Experience with public speaking, and proven judgment and skill in representing an agency or organization in complex and evolving topics that may be contentious and/or require a detailed, accurate explanation.
In addition to the above required qualifications, the following will make a candidate highly desirable:
- Knowledge of agricultural value chain development in Washington State.
- Experience and high-level skill in policy analysis, regulatory language review, and the ability to convey complex concepts, policies and procedures in clear, concise, and easy-to-understand written guidance.
- Strong knowledge of the regulations and certifications relevant to small farms nd food businesses.
- Experience and/or knowledge of procurement practices and food sercice operations in schools, institution and private cafeterias, particularly regarding the use of public funds to purchase food.
- Experience and/or knowledge in one or more of the following four focus areas:
- Small farms and direct marketing
- Local food infrastructure and supply chains
- Current farm and processing/packing facility produce safety standards
- Farm to school and institutional markets
- Experience with data analysis and reporting, as well as basic graphic design and publication layout.
- Spanish language skills including speaking, reading and writing.
- Experience with WSDA specialty crop block grant-funded projects.
How do I apply?
In addition to completing the online application, applicants must attach the following documents to their profile in order to be considered for this position:
- Letter of interest describing how you meet the specific qualifications for this position
The initial screening will be solely based on the contents and completeness of your application and the materials submitted. All information may be verified and documentation may be required.
To take advantage of Veteran’s preference please attach your DD-214, member 4 long form, or your NGB-22.Please black out your social security number prior to attaching.
Applications with comments such as “see attachments” or “N/A” in the supplemental question responses will be considered incomplete.
General suggestions for creating a good application packet:
- Read the job posting very carefully. Find out as much as you can about the position.
- Make sure you are very diligent in following all the application instructions. Include all requested documentation.
- Make sure your application and supplemental question responses address how you meet each of the required and desired qualifications.
- Carefully read each of the supplemental questions and respond completely to each one. Pay careful attention to each component of the question, providing examples, and thoroughly describing when and where you achieved the proficiency level, and detail the types of work you performed, the work products, etc., to demonstrate ‘how’.
- Specifically include all of your work experiences doing the same or similar work, especially if you reference work in these jobs in describing when/where you gained proficiency level skills.
- Make sure your application reflects your best writing.
If you are unable to apply on-line, please contact Lyndsey Beaupre, Recruiter, at (360) 902-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your last name and the position title in the subject line of your email.
Prior to a new hire, a background check including criminal history will be conducted. Information from the background check will not necessarily preclude employment but will be considered in determining the applicant’s suitability and competence to perform in the position.
The Human Resource Division may use referrals from this recruitment to help fill future similar vacancies for up to six months.
The State of Washington actively supports diversity in the workplace and is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants who need assistance in the application process or who need this announcement in an alternative format may call (360) 902-2020 or the Telecommunications Device for the Deaf at 800-833-6388
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