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Agricultural Specialist

serviice to the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians
Job Field:
Job Type:
Full Time
Location Detail:
Dowagiac, MI
Job Description:

Commitment to Citizen Service

Service encompasses all aspects of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indian’s governmental operations.  Every employee shares the responsibility to provide exemplary service, dignity, and respect to all Tribal Citizens, the Tribal Council, and staff members. To this end, all employees have an obligation to identify and report any service problems, issues, or concerns and through designated channels, initiate, recommend, and actively participate in solutions.  

Position Summary: Responsible for assisting in developing a successful and functional Kowabdanawa odë kė Program on tribal properties. Work will consist of developing an agricultural program through research and writing a sustainable agricultural plan, including research to secure funding, helping to develop grant proposals, and assisting with capacity development within the agriculture program. The agricultural specialist will work with closely with the Band’s organic farmers, the beekeeper on tribal properties, the Food Sovereignty Committee, the seasonal gardener, the cultural sustainability lead, and others helping to develop a future agricultural plan for the Pokagon Band. The agricultural specialist will be responsible for assisting in the development of a greenhouse or hoophouse on tribal properties to extend the growing season and help to grow traditional and cultural foods as well as starting plants for the gardens and for restoration and enhancement purposes on tribal properties. The agricultural specialist will be responsible for working with Skëbgyak Zhetthkén, the green initiative, by managing and expanding the composting program under the initiative. The agricultural specialist will also be responsible for working with the tribal community, providing education, and seeking input regarding community garden needs, plants of interest, and how to promote food sovereignty and expand the agricultural program.  

Essential Functions:

  • Conduct research regarding current agricultural trends, food sovereignty, and traditional ecological knowledge to develop a sustainable agricultural plan. 
  • Seek out funding sources and develop project proposals for review and potential submission.
  • Provide input on operating procedures and policy developments.
  • Review lease terms and conditions and provide feedback regarding potential deviations. 
  • Ability to work with farmers regarding lease amendments and other updates and tracks lease payments.
  • Maintain field edges for tribal citizen and farmer access.
  • Select the varieties of plants to be planted.
  • Manage seed stock, plants and other inventory.
  • Prepare garden beds and native planting areas.
  • Germinate seeds, assess soil nutrients and plant needs (health, disease, pests, etc.) throughout their life cycle. 
  • Cultivate planted areas and control weeds as necessary.
  • Harvest crops at the appropriate time and save and properly store seeds from gardens.
  • Collect and analyze compost from all departments while maintaining a compost system.
  • Identify insects, native plants, wildlife, and invasive species.
  • Identify issues with garden plants, including pests, viruses, fungi, and predators. Provide the appropriate remediation.  
  • Practice safe and proper maintenance of vehicles and equipment. Identify and troubleshoot equipment failures.
  • Assist with application of herbicides in areas adjacent to agricultural fields. 
  • Maintain accurate and concise records of herbicide use to include: amount used, location, concentration, date, time, and weather conditions.
  • Assist with planting native trees and seeds utilizing hand and machinery methods.
  • Assist with prescribed burns and planting of warm season grasses, as needed.
  • Assist in providing the tribal community with technical assistance regarding environmentally sound practices for agricultural development.
  • Collaborate with governmental team members, tribal departments, and interested stakeholders.
  • Provide technical updates regarding the development of the agricultural program to stakeholders.

Non-Essential Functions:

Perform other related functions as assigned. 


  • Tractors & tractor implements, bobcats and bobcat implements, front end loaders, high-lifts, stump grinders, mowers, tractors, snowplows and snowblowers, chainsaws, jigsaws, circular saws, routers, electric saws, electric clippers, weed razors, weed whackers, vegetation groomers and trimmers, pruners, and hand or automatic sprayers or spreaders. 
  • Trucks, UTV/ATV’s, Rangers, Trailers.
  • Handheld GPS units, personal computers/laptops, touch screen phones/tablets
  • Research-related equipment, including but not limited to: binoculars/spotting scopes, global positioning units, microscopes/hand lenses, dichotomous keys, thermometers, anemometers, and hygrometers
  • Normal office equipment, including Microsoft Office applications, internet

Position Requirements:  

  • BA/BS degree in agriculture, horticulture, natural resource management or a related field along with a minimum of five years of farming and/or relevant experience; or an MA/MS degree and a minimum of three years of farming and/or relevant experience; or an equivalent combination of experience and education. 
  • Possess a broad understanding of organic agriculture, including familiarity with related technologies and scientific disciplines
  • Advanced computer skills necessary, with knowledge of Microsoft Office programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), internet navigation, and research capabilities to create reports, proposals, presentations, and datasheets.
  • Ability to work independently, with community members, and in team settings
  • Ability to work in all weather conditions and in challenging locations
  • Valid driver’s license and good driving record
  • Self-motivated and able to perform with minimal supervision required.
  • Ability to learn to operate, calibrate, and maintain all tools and equipment to current industry standards (e.g., GPS units, chainsaws, tractors, UTVs) 
  • Willingness to become a certified pesticide applicator
  • Experience using farm machinery
  • Willingness to interact with new contacts to help develop an agricultural plan
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Ability to safely load, secure, and transport heavy equipment on truck and trailer. 
  • Experience and knowledge of Michigan Department of Transportation’s procedures for transporting, securing, and loading large machinery on equipment trailers.
  • Ability to travel to conferences and meetings related to agricultural topics

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience in outreach and working with farmers
  • Experience or knowledge of commercial horticulture and agronomic production
  • Experience or knowledge of permaculture and restoration agriculture
  • Experience or knowledge of hydroponics and aquaponics
  • Experience or knowledge of integrated farming systems and concepts of sustainability utilizing environmental sound practices

Indian Preference:

  • Pokagon Band Preference Code applies.

Physical Requirements:  

  • Frequently required to use hands and fingers to operate equipment. 
  • Frequently required to stoop, kneel, crouch, bend, and crawl. 
  • Regularly required to lift and/move up to 50 pounds
  • Occasionally required to lift and/or move up to 75 pounds.

 Work Environment:

  • Outdoor environment; frequently exposed to outside weather condition during all four seasons. 
  • Local travel is necessary, so the ability to travel as needed is required. Occasional long-distance travel may be necessary for training purposes.
  • Occasional strenuous work required. 


  • Achievement Orientation
  • Collaboration
  • Initiative
  • Continuous Learning
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Adaptability

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