Agricultural Research Equipment Operator - Objective

University of Wisconsin

River Falls , WI

ID: 7069588
Posted: September 9, 2020
Application Deadline: Open Until Filled

Job Description

Position Summary
The Agricultural Research Equipment Operator Objective is primarily responsible for the safe operation and maintenance/repair of the UWRF Laboratory Farm equipment and reports to the Laboratory Farm Director and performs under general supervision. This is a full-time position at the UW-River Falls Mann Valley Farm with close interaction with faculty, staff, students, student workers, private companies and public interactions. The person in this position works closely with the Farm Director regarding the daily operation of farm equipment in the areas of operation, maintenance, repair and crop production. The position also works closely with Crop and Soil Science and Ag Engineering faculty for laboratory classes, research projects, as well as agronomy research with Winfield Solutions located at the Mann Valley Farm. Excellent interpersonal, communication, and mentoring skills are necessary as this person will be working with, directing and demonstrating proper machinery operation, maintenance, and repair to farm staff, students, student employees, and faculty. Attention to detail is critical. Self-starting, independent working skills combined with flexible work hours on weekdays and weekends, when necessary, are a must in this position as it is highly weather influenced. A positive, cooperative attitude toward farm staff, faculty, students, and the public is essential. The Mann Valley and Campus Farms are laboratory and teaching farms where “hands-on” experience is the mode of operation.

35% Operation of Laboratory Farm Equipment
• Safely and effectively operate farm equipment on 395 acres of cropland in all facets of the two Laboratory Farm’s operations including crop and livestock activities ranging from tillage to manure cleanout and applications, the composting operation, planting, cutting and harvesting alfalfa and corn and other cropping operations.
• Equipment operation includes: skid-steers, tractors, moldboard and chisel plows, field and row crop cultivators, compost turner, tillage discs, self-propelled windrower, combine, pivot irrigation, forage chopper with hay and corn heads, front and rear unloading forage wagons, forage bagger, forage blower, dairy tmr portable feed wagon, tedder, wheel and rotary rakes, forage inoculant and preservative spray applicators, mower-conditioner, round and square balers, six-row corn planter, grain drills, no-till drills, six-row stalk-chopper, tractor mounted soil probe, crop sprayer, solid and liquid manure spreaders and tankers, stationary and portable manure pumps, farm emergency generator, grain and forage elevators, five ton overhead crane.
• Safely and effectively operate equipment on research projects in conjunction with faculty, students, public and private entities as well as laboratory class machinery operation.
• Interaction with researchers regarding best operation of equipment to fit study and coordination of equipment on research site.
• Assist with laboratory class field equipment operation and mentoring students on operation of lab class machinery.
• Field preparation, planting, harvest and manure/compost operations etc., done in a timely, flexible and efficient manner.
• Work with Farm Director, faculty and staff in the overall cropping operations with the goal of maximum crop quality.
• Accurately maintain records relating to crops, i.e. field data, pesticide, fertilizer and manure and compost applications and amounts for Farm Director, faculty research and laboratory class activities
32% Maintenance, Repair and Inventory of Farm Equipment at the Machinery Service Center (MSC)
• Maintain farm equipment: oil/filter changes, air filter cleaning and changes, greasing, battery maintenance, cleaning, inspecting belts and chains, lubrication, wheel bearing lube/adjusting, troubleshooting to maintain optimal performance.
• Document accurate records of equipment maintenance and repair.
• Assist farm staff in proper maintenance procedures conduct daily routine check list for the equipment they operate.
• Work with faculty and students in laboratory classes regarding maintenance techniques.
• Maintain farm shop inventory of standard equipment items and tool selections
• Responsible for the upkeep and safe operation of the Center.
• Repair farm equipment as needed. Equipment repair examples: welding a new cutting edge on a skid-steer bucket, troubleshooting and correcting a short in a wiring harness on a tractor, removing and replacing a worn tractor starter motor, replacing worn blades on a field disc, fabricating metal to create a new hay feeder for the calf barn, repairing a skid-steer fuel line leak, repair a broken forage box roller chain, fabricate a new hitch for a field cultivator with faculty assistance for a lab class traction study, repair forage blower blades and rebalance for optimum performance, planter drive shaft bearing repair.
• Work in conjunction with the Farm Director and faculty on problem solving that may involve major repair by an outside vendor.
• Advise and oversee staff in the repairing process of equipment. This “hands on” approach leads to a better understanding of the equipment’s operation by the staff member.
• Work with faculty and students in laboratory classes regarding repairing of equipment.
• Consult with Farm Director and faculty regarding condition of equipment, replacement alternatives and the purchase of new equipment.
12% Oversee and Mentor Student employees and Laboratory Class students
• Assist in providing “hands on” experiences to lab class students by mentoring and overseeing their work on various tasks.
• Oversee and counsel student employees expressing an interest in machinery operation, maintenance and repair. Apprise the Farm Director of their skills and progress.
• Assist student employees in other work areas as needed.
10% Assist Agricultural Engineering and Plant and Earth Science Faculty in Laboratory classes
• Prepare, set-up, and assist as needed during laboratory classes in the Machinery Service Center or in-field. Lab exercise examples: soil coring, grain drill calibration, traction tests, forage harvester and combine adjustments and effects, tillage systems, crop residue, grain field loss, solid/liquid manure spreader calibration, planter setup with GPS.
• Maintain inventory of items used in lab classes.
5% General Farm Cleanup and Maintenance
• Enhance the Farm’s appearance through maintenance efforts, i.e., mowing, repairs on buildings, concrete work, etc., and aesthetic enhancements such as planting trees, shrubs, rock walls, etc., showcasing the Farm’s appearance.
• Safe application of pesticide in landscape areas and on edges of fields.
3% Lead Farm Safety Person
• Serve on University Safety committee as the Lab Farm’s lead safety person. Communicate farm safety concerns and how they relate to the university environment.
• With the assistance of the Farm Director, Dairy Enterprise Manager and others, conduct farm safety orientation meetings for all farm staff, including student workers.
• Provide information and instruction for safe operation of equipment.
3% Assistance in Livestock activities
• Work with livestock staff as needed when labor is limited and/or preparation for lab classes or Farm livestock events or student competitions.
• Assist with situations, mostly emergency types, some off-hours where the Farm Equipment Operator may be needed i.e., dairy cows that exited an unlocked gate and need to be returned to pen.


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