UBC Forest & Conservation Sciences Department Field Technician Full Time in Vancouver, BC

UBC Forest & Conservation Sciences Department

Branch Vancouver BC CA

Field Technician
Vancouver, BC

Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or Graduation from a technical college or institute. Conducts all site activities in alignment with relevant…

The UBC Farm is a 24-hectare integrated production, teaching, and research farm located on the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus. The Centre for Sustainable Food Systems (CSFS) is housed at the UBC Farm and integrates interdisciplinary academic, community, and production programs to explore and exemplify healthy and sustainable food systems. More information about the UBC Farm and the CSFS can be found at www.ubcfarm.ubc.ca.

The Field Technician supports the UBC Farm and the CSFS in two complementary ways:
– coordinating and performing day-to-day land stewardship and crop production activities for a wide range of crops at the UBC Farm.
– providing technical field advice and services to other site users, projects, and programs.

Organizational Status

Reports to the Field Manager (Agroecology Field Technician). Collaborates frequently (often daily) with other UBC Farm Field Technicians and the Agricultural Product Technician. Works in a collaborative environment with other staff at the UBC Farm, the CSFS, and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems (especially technical staff at Totem Field and the Greenhouse). Liaises with other site users on a project basis and at a level corresponding to the technical assistance required.

Work Performed

· Coordinates and performs day-to-day land stewardship and production activities for a wide range of agricultural crops. Specific crops for which the Field Technician is responsible may vary and may include a mix of field grown annual fruits and vegetables, field grown perennial fruits and vegetables, greenhouse grown fruits and vegetables, forest products, herbs, cut flowers, vegetable seeds, and/or poultry. Continuity with areas of responsibility will be maintained from year to year when desired and operationally expedient.
· Land stewardship and production activities coordinated or performed by the Field Technician may include (but are not limited to) plant propagation, field cultivation, irrigation installation, irrigation management, mowing, pesticide application, nutrient application, hoophouse construction, pruning, record keeping, harvesting, poultry care, field scouting, invasive species control, compost management, data collection, and record keeping.
· Develops standard operating procedures for these activities and provides practical training in them to other staff, student workers, interns, and volunteers.
· Provides technical field advice and services to other site users, projects, and programs. Examples of this type of work include (but are not limited to) the following:
–advising researchers on various site specific aspects of field experimental design and techniques and equipment for performing experimental interventions.
–performing experimental interventions and assisting researchers with project monitoring.
–liaising with course instructors to identify field-based learning opportunities at the UBC Farm and occasionally help facilitate labs and field trips.
–providing technical crop production advice and assistance to community educational programs at the UBC Farm.
· Assists the Agricultural Product Technician with weekly crop harvest planning based on product supply and also with monitoring the quality and safety of crops. Occasionally assists the Agricultural Product Technician with the sale and direct-marketing of crops.
· Assists with general operational tasks such as selection, procurement, maintenance, and repair of field equipment, tools, and supplies.
· Conducts all site activities in alignment with relevant environmental and health regulations such as the Canadian Organic Standards, the Canadian Pest Control Products Act and Regulations, the Canadian Council on Animal Care guidelines, the BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, the BC Occupational Health and Safety Regulation, and the BC Integrated Pest Management Act. Keeps appropriate records to document compliance with these regulations. Assists the Field Manager with evaluating the regulatory compliance of proposed research interventions and other new site activities.
· Assists the Field Manager with annual farm plans detailing cropping decisions and production trends.
· Assists the Field Manager with assessing the technical feasibility, economic viability, and programmatic value of new crops and projects.
· Performs other operational duties as required.

Supervision Received

Reports to and works under the general direction of the Field Manager. Must show a significant degree of autonomy and be able to make day-to-day field production decisions independently, but will review major decisions with and defer high-impact decisions to the Field Manager.

Supervision Given

During the production season (May-October), the Field Technician may direct up to 105 hours/week of work performed by student workers or Miscellaneous Farm Workers. In the event that any of these employees work regular hours under the direction of another staff member, the Field Technician’s supervisory responsibility will extend only to the extent that he or she directs the employees’ work. The Field Technician may also supervise volunteers as needed and up to three part-time (~10 hours/week) student interns. In all cases, he or she is responsible for prioritizing, delegating and reviewing tasks to the student workers, interns and volunteers that are appropriate to their skill level.

Consequence of Error/Judgement

The Field Technician is a representative of the UBC Farm, the CSFS, and the Faculty of Land and Food Systems. This individual’s approach and delivery of information in dealing with the general public and a variety of site users present at the UBC Farm reflects on these units. Therefore, ensuring a high regard for professionalism, safety, and adherence to UBC policies is of considerable importance.

When dealing with powered equipment, including tractors and field implements, in a variety of field and weather conditions, the Field Technician will need to critically assess each operation before proceeding in order to ensure the safety of individuals involved. When using high-powered equipment, poor judgment of the operating conditions and context can result in operator injury or death. Day-to-day decisions regarding crop planting, care, and harvest have a considerable impact on crop quality and timing, which in turn impacts the financial viability and quality of the UBC Farm’s programs.


Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline or Graduation from a technical college or institute. Relevant degree such as Agricultural Sciences Minimum of 3 years related experience or the equivalent combination of education and experience. Three full growing seasons of experience with mixed fruit or vegetable production (preferably organic). Experience or training in field research design and data collection is an asset. Demonstrated technical competence with and theoretical understanding of a broad range of crop production and land management techniques. Experience with UBC, the UBC Farm, other regional organic farms, and/or other educational farms is an asset. Strong organizational skills with the ability to effectively manage multiple tasks and priorities, exercising sound judgment. Ability to mentor and coach staff, and act as a resource. Ability to analyze problems independently, identify key information and issues, and effectively resolve. Ability to communicate effectively verbally and in writing. Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to provide quality service to customers in a courteous, patient manner. Ability to analyze and redesign work flow/field processes to make them more efficient and effective. Ability to develop and implement standard operating procedures. Ability to work efficiently and safely both independently and in a team environment. Ability to safely and efficiently operate a broad range of job-related hand tools, power tools, tractors, field implements and other agricultural equipment. Ability to effectively use MS Office at an intermediate level (e.g. using Excel to record, manage and manipulate data.) Physical ability to perform the duties of the job. Must be physically fit and enjoy hard work outdoors in all weather conditions, for long days and ability to bring tasks to completion under tight deadlines. Must be able to lift 45 lbs repetitively and 70 lbs occasionally. Valid Class 5 Drivers License is required and have experience operating manual transmission. Valid BC Pesticide Applicator Certificate or the ability to attain one is required. When special events or circumstances require, work may be performed after normal business hours. Because of the seasonal nature of the work, a heavier workload is the norm from April through October. During this period of time, a Tuesday through Saturday work schedule is required.

UBC hires on the basis of merit and is strongly committed to equity and diversity within its community. We especially welcome applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, persons of minority sexual orientations and gender identities, and others with the skills and knowledge to productively engage with diverse communities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

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Employment Type: Full Time
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA
Posted on: 2016-09-20
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