Agricultural Research interns will work directly with the Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center’s Research staff to address current and future agricultural needs. They will participate in rigorous research focused on regenerative organic methods for agricultural production. Interns will identify tools and practices to help grow organic agriculture by addressing pest and fertility issues, climate change mitigation techniques, and human health through crop nutrient density. Rodale Institute’s research focuses on biological mechanisms to reduce pest issues, soil erosion, fossil fuel use, and greenhouse gas emissions; heighten nutrient and water use efficiencies; improve pollinator activity; and increase food security. We utilize systems-based approaches to soil, crop, animal, human, and planetary health.

Responsibilities could include:

Interns spend the majority of their time conducting field work, typically performing the following tasks:

  • Complete and present an individual research project. Interns will work in conjunction with the project Principal Investigator on data analysis and presentation.
  • Collect and process soil, plant, insect, grain, and produce samples using industry-standard protocols.
  • Conduct soil analyses including aggregate stability, bulk density, compaction, infiltration, etc.
  • Conduct plant analyses including weed identification, stand counts, vegetable system pest scouting, etc.
  • Lay out experimental field plots using GPS mapping, in-field measurements, and flagging.
  • Assist with seeding/transplanting, which may include watering duties over the weekends.
  • Tend and maintain field and/or high tunnel experiments (using hand tools, weedwhackers, mowers, etc.).
  • Enter data precisely and in a timely manner for statistical analysis and interpretation.
  • Accurately and neatly label sample collection materials, as directed.
  • Participate in bi-weekly Research Department discussions based on journal articles and project updates.

Candidate qualifications:

  • Undergraduate or graduate degree, or undergraduate student with good academic standing from an accredited college or university.
  • A strong work ethic, initiative, and motivation.
  • Attention to detail and a high level of care.
  • The ability to work well individually and in a team environment.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills.
  • Interest in regenerative agricultural issues, practices, and/or research.
  • Trusting and respectful attitude toward all staff and visitors.
  • Willingness to work indoors and outdoors in all weather conditions.
  • Open minded and flexible; willing to work in all departments as a team member.

Additional Information:

  • Location: Rodale Institute Midwest Organic Center, 3706 St. Peters Rd. Marion, IA 52302
  • Compensation: Interns will be paid $9.50/hour. Organic produce from the farm is occasionally available during the growing season.
  • Schedule: Interns work full-time for 12-16 weeks. Internships are available for spring or fall (see chart below). Start and end dates are somewhat flexible, as long as they land within the given timeframe.
  • Deadlines: Application deadlines are listed below. If you miss a deadline or are interested in an internship that does not meet the minimum duration, please contact us at midwest@rodaleinstitute.org, as exceptions can sometimes be made based on the needs of Rodale Institute.
Internship Season Timeframe Application Deadline
Spring Mid-March – June December 1
Fall July – October May 1
  • Application Materials:
    • Cover letter (including dates of availability and contact information for 3 references)
    • Resume or CV
    • Official or unofficial transcript(s)

Please send the cover letter, resume, and transcript to midwest@rodaleinstitute.org. Please indicate which internship you are applying to in the subject line of your email.

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