Field Crops Nutrient Management Applied Research and Extension Internship

Worksite Location
CCE St. Lawrence (4-County Regional Program)
Faculty Sponsor
Quirine M. Ketterings, Professor, Nutrient Management Spear Program, Department of Animal Science
Field Mentors/Supervisors
Kitty O'Neil, Ph.D., Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist, Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Northern New York.
Stipend Amount
Project Summary and Intended Outcomes

The Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program is collaborating with Cornell Cooperative Extension Educator Kitty O'Neil, Regional Field Crops and Soils Specialist in the 4-County Northern New York Region on applied research and extension programming that will benefit field crop, dairy and livestock producers in Northern New York. The intern will help plan, conduct, analyze, and evaluate on-farm research project(s) in collaboration with Cornell University as well as participate in farmer education events in the area of nutrient management for dairy and livestock operations. The intern will write an agronomy factsheet and help with on-going work at the Canton Research Farm and in the 4-county region. The intern will be involved in a series of farmer discussion group meetings for producers concerning forage production, including various rotations aimed at optimizing high quality forage production while protecting soil from erosion and nutrient loss.

Roles and Responsibilities

The student will be placed in St Lawrence County but work throughout the 4-county region. This program is a partnership involving Cornell Cooperative Extension, USDA NRCS, County Soil and Water Conservation Districts, NYS DEC, Quality Milk Production Services, Farm Bureau, Miner Institute and private agribusinesses and consultants (certified nutrient management planners). CCE St. Lawrence County also manages its own Extension Learning Farm (ELF), a 300-acre sheep and beef grazing facility. The ELF and CCE of NNY currently have several ongoing crop, livestock and maple research and demonstration projects, including a project on evaluation of nitrogen and sulfur management of brown mid-rib sorghum, a foliar disease survey of corn and soybean fields across 6 counties, and corn and small grain fertility trials. The intern will be participating in field research design planning, data collection, summary and analysis. The intern will be trained in trouble-shooting farmer fields, scouting, etc., and assist with planning and facilitation of farmer educational events. The intern will assist teammates with tasks and be assigned some more independent projects. The intern will also have an opportunity to shadow other professionals (consultants, district) in the region.

Qualifications and Previous Coursework

Must be a full-time CALS freshman, sophomore or junior. Graduating seniors are not eligible. Must meet NYS Department of Motor Vehicle requirement, if applicable.

A strong interest in production agriculture is essential. Coursework and/or practical experience in field crop and/or animal production, soil science, and animal nutrition are preferred. Intern must have a valid New York State Driver's License. The intern will be responsible for her/his own housing, though housing options with St. Lawrence University programs are currently being sought. The intern should be able to endure rigorous physical labor (including lifting of seed or fertilizer bags) under adverse weather conditions encountered in the field (such as data collection on hot and sunny or rainy days).

Benefits and Skills

The student will gain skills in conducting field-research, conducting farmer education events, collecting data for nutrient management plans, etc. The intern will have the opportunity to learn to write for an extension audience through the writing of an agronomy factsheet, learn how to prepare a nutrient management plan using state of the art nutrient management and geographic information system (GIS) software, and assist in planning and evaluation of extension farmer education events. The internship provides an outstanding opportunity for an agriculturalist-in-training to shadow and work with extension professionals as they collaborate with producers, agribusiness, agriculture agency professionals, research specialists, and the general public. The intern will have the opportunity to experience a cooperative, multi-agency team atmosphere and become familiar with the roles of all the agencies who partner with Extension in the region. S/he will also work directly with participating farmers learning to manage real world practical application challenges.