Position Overview: 

The Western Sugar Cooperative has a opportunity for a Research Agronomist. This position is responsible for executing all functions associated with the sugarbeet seed variety plot trials that serve as the foundation of the sugarbeet seed hybrid approval system our growers choose sugarbeet seed from. Both directly and in concert with a diverse set of stakeholders, this position will be responsible for yield trial planning, preparation, planting, maintenance, harvest, analysis, and education. The position will also be responsible for executing internal disease/pest assessments.

Essential Functions:

  • Ensure adequate seed supplies are on hand for the season. Receive all seed, split by appropriate volume, and packet type, and organize into planting order.
  • Coordinate with regional agriculturalists to secure farmer-cooperators for planting sugarbeet trials, appropriate field placement and size. Communicate with stakeholders about planting schedule. Manually place field flags to facilitate planting, ensuring the field is squared. Responsible for setting tractor tire and planter spacing to appropriate row width by area. Physically plant trials with a precision planter, taking care to ensure intended seed spacing is obtained. Use the established maps and packet labels to ensure all seed is planted in the appropriate location.
  • Oversee in season trial maintenance. Ensure thinning and alley creation at each location, conduct fungicide application, oversee hand labor to manage removal of herbicide resistant weeds, make monthly site visits and keep comprehensive observation notes.
  • Obtain harvest tickets necessary for plot harvest, create schedule conducive to all stakeholders, communicate with tare lab managers about supplies needed, sample volumes expected and planned harvest schedule, hire and manage temporary employees needed during harvest, ensure all supplies are on-hand for harvest, and document all plot weights.
  • Literate in trial mapping and randomization
  • Host annual summer tour with farmers, seed companies and Western Sugar agriculture employees.
  • Rate disease nurseries
  • Process land rental payments in the spring and fall for all farmer-cooperators and manage/process all trial related invoicing throughout the season.
  • Update work instructions on an annual basis to ensure any changes in practice are captured.
  • Participate in cooperative meetings (research reporting session, seed advancement meeting, annual meeting, local grower association meetings, etc.).
  • Cooperate with various ag mechanics to ensure annual repair and maintenance needs with research equipment are addressed.
  • Work to an assigned budget.

Skill & Experience Requirements

  • Friendly, results oriented, and collaborative
  • Bachelor’s degree preferred, with an emphasis on degree in agricultural sciences or biology (equivalent experience will be acceptable)
  • 2-3 years job-related experience (commercial farming, trial management, crop consulting) preferred
  • Possess farming knowledge/experience and agricultural aptitude
  • Knowledge of sugar beet production (planting through harvest) and pathology a plus
  • Understand the mechanics of seed trialing and disease/pest management
  • Proficient at tractor driving and operating precision planting equipment, including use of GPS and planter monitors
  • Excellent mechanical skills related to farm equipment
  • Proficient in computer programs (outlook, word, PowerPoint, excel, SharePoint)
  • Familiarity with statistics, ANOVA and means separation
  • Ability to manage multiple projects effectively
  • Hold a valid driver’s license
  • Hold a valid CDL, or being able to obtain one within 6 months of employment
  • Ability to live our Core Values of: Being a Safety Leader, Integrity, Openness & Trust, Teamwork, Entrepreneurship, and Social Responsibility

Working Relationship: 

The Research Agronomist will report to the Vice President Chief Scientist and Governmental Affairs. The candidate will be expected to demonstrate and apply strong knowledge and leadership within farm equipment mechanical maintenance, operation, and agronomy to independently deliver high quality yield trial and disease nursery results. The Research Agronomist must effectively collaborate with a diverse set of stakeholders in the absence of a direct reporting line.

Leadership skills:

Excellent time manager works with purpose and able to function in a dynamic environment without losing focus.

  • Superior problem solver: able to troubleshoot quickly and effectively to keep team moving without sacrificing quality.
  • Able to create a working environment that promotes teamwork and respect: continually foster personal and team growth, development, and success.
  • Safety and quality focused: facilitate a safe work environment for self and others and work with attention to detail.
  • Good interpersonal skills: able to train, guide, and direct employees within and outside of reporting line. Lead and engage with others in a productive and friendly manner.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

Travel Requirements: 30%-40%


Position Type: Non-Union Status: Exempt Location: Scottsbluff, Billings, Fort Morgan, Lovell, or Denver
Benefits: Medical, Vision, STD, LTD, 401K, Life Insurance, Vacation, and Holidays



It is the policy of The Western Sugar Cooperative not to discriminate against any employee or any applicant for employment because of age, race, religion, color, handicap, sex, physical condition, developmental disability, sexual orientation, or national origin.  This policy shall include, but not be limited to, the following:  recruitment and employment, promotion, demotion, transfer, compensation, selection for training, layoff, and termination.

Western Sugar Cooperative is a Drug Free workplace