Forage Agronomy Officer (NPA – Kenya)

Land O'Lakes Venture37


Land O’Lakes Venture37 is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping communities around the world build economies by strengthening local agriculture, helping agribusinesses create jobs and linking farmers to markets. Since 1981, it has implemented over 315 integrated dairy, livestock, and crops development programs in nearly 80 countries — creating lasting impact by linking farmers, businesses, and the public and private sector in local and global contexts. Land O’Lakes Venture37’s long-standing affiliation with Land O’Lakes, Inc. sets it apart. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives. It supports Land O’Lakes Venture37 project implementation with nearly 100 years of expertise in dairy, animal nutrition, crop inputs and agricultural insights and technologies. This gives Land O’Lakes Venture37 development projects a unique global view of agriculture, food, and the power of well-functioning market systems. Land O’Lakes, Inc. supports these efforts as part of its enterprise purpose of Feeding Human Progress at home and around the world.

Project Summary:

Land O’Lakes Venture37 is the lead project implementer for the Nourishing Prosperity Alliance (NPA) project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the NPA project is to establish commercially viable and sustainable forage markets that equitably strengthen the regional competitiveness of the dairy industries in Kenya and Ethiopia. Forage markets will be developed through the implementation of integrated activities that drive demand for and use of optimized forage varieties among small-scale dairy producers, as well as improve the supply of climate-smart forage rations that are marketed to small-scale producers. Activities also aim to strengthen the enabling environment for forage market development over the life of the project, from July 2023 to June 2028.

Position Summary:

The Forage Agronomy Officer is responsible for ensuring implementation of NPA activities related to forage production and conservation, including in climate-smart production practices, soil and forage testing and data analysis, and market development across the different project target regions in Kenya. The project will be implemented in key dairy counties in the Rift Valley and Central regions, which show the highest potential for forage market growth with additional sites and adaptive research plots in Western and Eastern regions.

The Forage Agronomy Officer will monitor and provide forage agronomy recommendations for establishment, management, harvesting and processing by small-scale dairy producers and early-stage commercial forage producers in the different agro-ecologies and production systems. The Forage Agronomy Officer will also support the capacity development of farmers, through training, field days, and digital services to implement forage production on their farms in close collaboration with local businesses. The Forage Agronomy Officer supports capacity building of extension workers and the private sector on technical forage agronomy topics to improve recommendations to dairy producers on forage production. This position will also closely collaborate with diverse national partners and should support the development of positive working relationships with companies, farmer organizations, women’s groups and cooperatives, government bodies, and other development projects in the livestock sector.

Primary Responsibilities

• Prepare training materials on technical forage agronomy topics targeting extension service providers and private sector businesses (through a training-of-trainers model) and small-scale producers.

• Increase small-scale dairy producers’ knowledge of climate-smart forage production by providing training with in-person guidance, field days, and digital training on key topics for forage establishment, management, and conservation.

• Provide training on forage agronomy, different preservation methods and storage practice for efficient and safe use of forages to extension service providers and forage producers,

• Conduct adaptive research sites that establish a variety of nutrient-dense forage varieties in collaboration with universities and research institutes including ILRI and collect and analyze data across the crop life cycle.

• Contribute to the selection and lead establishment of demonstration sites on working farms of early adopters of forage, which are designed to demonstrate forage at the different stages of production, working with farmers and their staff to develop and implement agronomic recommendations for effective forage crop management.

• Conduct soil and forage testing to enable data-driven decision-making in forage management and support the development of differentiated pricing models.

• Work in close collaboration with NPA partners from the private and public sector who will participate in NPA activities, including extension service providers and agribusinesses across the forage value chain, to take ownership of the various technical training components by building capacity on technical topics (e.g., forage establishment practices, field management, timing of harvest, effective use of storage and conservation tools) through a training-of-trainers model.

• Disseminate information on the benefits of climate-smart forage production to build demand for nutrient-dense forages by addressing the primary barriers to adoption along with sharing key insights from data on soil health, forage quality and costing analyses collected at NPA research and demonstration sites and datasets from partner organizations on agronomic and early warning system information.

• Support in improving equitable access for dairy and forage producers to products and services needed for forage production and sale.

• Collaborate with the Monitoring, Evaluation, and Learning assistant to collect and input data into internal monitoring systems and participate in learning and adaptive management meetings.

• Perform other duties assigned by the NPA – Kenya National Coordinator for the achievement of project objectives.

Reporting & Supervision:

• The Forage Agronomy Specialist reports to the National Coordinator, NPA, Kenya

Required Skills and Qualifications:

• A Bachelor’s degree in agronomy, crop production, animal production, agricultural extension, or other relevant field.

• At least four (4) years of relevant experience in the sector.

• Demonstrated technical knowledge and practical experience in forage crop production, including knowledge of best agronomic practices for establishment, management, harvesting and conservation of the major forage crops suitable in the different agro-ecologies.

• Experience in on-farm demonstration of forage crops, working with smallholder livestock producers in different agro-ecologies and high potential dairy producing areas.

• Experience in training extension agents and farmers by organizing and facilitating through trainings and field days.

• Experience in working with different partners and farmers, demonstrating effective communication and professionalism with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.

• Ability to collect and analyze data and information and draw valid conclusions.

• Good verbal and written communication skills in English.

• Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office and Excel.

• This position is open to Kenyan nationals only and is compensated according to Venture37’s local compensation plan in Kenya. This position is not eligible for international compensation, allowances, or international benefits.

Preferred Skills and Qualifications:

• Private sector experience preferred.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted. No phone calls will be accepted.

Land O’Lakes Venture37 never requests money or payment from candidates for any position type. Please report any such requests to Land O’Lakes Venture37.

Land O’Lakes Venture37 is an equal opportunity employer and an organization striving to help global communities thrive through agriculture. We consider all qualified applicants without regard to race, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or veteran status, among other factors. Our culture values a diversity of voices. So, bring us your unique experiences, your workstyle, and your dreams — they’ll only make us stronger.

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