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Welcome to Nourse Farms! We are a leader in the production, preparation, growth and sale of premium quality small fruit plant stock. We also pick, grow, harvest and market wholesale and retail fruit. Our number one objective is to present the best quality product for sale to our customers. Located in the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts, we farm on over 800 acres of prime river bottom land in the towns of Hatfield, Whately, Deerfield, Montague and Northfield.
 
Over the years, our company has shown steady growth and diversification both nationally and internationally.  Our company goals are to continue our steady growth, establish important management positions to control and manage our growth and to maintain the company as a leader in the marketplace.
 
We're hiring a Chief Operations Officer, based in Deerfield MA, to work closely with the owner to lead operations by maximizing company resources, focusing on efficiency, defining our growth plans and being a leader in variety development. In this role you will ideally be progressing into the CEO role within 1-2 years. You will be leading the CFO, Director of Sales, General Manager, Director of HR, Directors of Production including the Nursery/Farm operations, Lab, Greenhouse and Packing/Storage/Shipping operations. The COO is responsible for 75-100 total employees domestically as well as use of seasonal labor.  You will be leading both the MA location and our second operation in Eastern Washington.
If you are excited about bringing new varieties to market and enjoy the opportunity to providing top-quality plants to large commercial growers and to smaller operations this is the role for you. We have a loyal team of passionate employees dedicated to working together to grow the business.

This role is for you if

  • You are an entrepreneurial-minded individual that looks to be the innovative leader in an industry
  • You have experience in the agriculture industry in senior operations management roles (General Manager, Director Farm Operations, etc.)
  • You are open to travel to our WA operation as well as our commercial growers; both national and international travel
  • You are comfortable leading a smaller organization

Your areas of focus
Strategy/ General Management
  • Serve as active participant in development of Nourse Farms’ strategic plan through quarterly/ as needed collaboration with the Management Team and Board of Advisors (“Board”)
  • Develop/ implement processes to continue to successfully compete in the marketplace and fulfill customers’ needs, ensuring all practices comply with local, state and national regulations.
  • Learn current practices, then evaluate and provide recommendations for improvements in key areas of production, pricing, sales, product line, employee capital, facilities, and overall operational execution.
  • Assemble agendas/ objectives for, attend and participate in structured quarterly meetings with Board. Oversee and execute action items and decisions as directed by Board to meet growth and profit objectives as set by Board.
  • Become familiar with all existing plant breeders to maintain access to new material and perpetuate quality breeder relationships.
  • Participate in licensing process for new patented or protected material.  Oversee all existing and new contracts and licenses.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive new variety trialing and surveying program to identify opportunities for increased product sales in new or existing markets.
  • Develop protocol for new product research and potential product launch.

People Management
  • Provide leadership and maintain an inclusive working relationship with all levels of the company.
  • Support and lead the Management and enhance Nourse Farms, Inc.’s collaborative style, commitment to learning and continuous improvement.
  • Ensure the execution of plans for organizational structure, staffing, employee development and succession at all levels of the company, with the objective being to continue to successfully operate on a national scale.
  • Administer company policies fairly and equitably and oversee strategic planning process.
  • Evaluate compensation and benefit plans for management and staff. Develop and present compensation recommendations for the Management Team to the CEO and the Board of Advisors.

Sales/Marketing
  • Coordinate with Management and Sales to successfully identify and quantify opportunities in new geographies, intellectual property licensing and innovative new ways to serve markets.
  • Develop commercialization strategies for new genetics.
  • Develop comprehensive understanding of product and cultural practices of organization.
  • Ensure successful execution of the annual marketing and sales plan.
  • Develop and implement pricing strategies in all markets.
  • Evaluate market trends and adjust sales strategy to secure long-term market share.
  • Oversee Director of Sales, participate and monitor all planning, organizing, forecasting of the company’s sales efforts
  • Provide leadership to the day-to-day operations of the sales department
  • Interface with customers, both internally and at trade meetings
  • Meet and participate in West Coast sales efforts

Office of Finance
  • Interface with company controller, review financials on regular basis.
  • Participate in annual department budget preparation and review.
  • Recommend an annual budget and capital expenditure program to the Board of Directors.
  • Review budgets and modify, if necessary, each quarter.
  • Approve weekly vendor payments.
  • Maintain sound banking relations.
  • Monitor cash flow and respond with appropriate actions.
  • Review and participate in annual insurance coverage meetings.
  • Review and participate in all landlord activities for company, including rental properties, land trade, drafting and reviewing lease agreements.

Operations/ Logistics
  • Monitor new facility establishment, capital structures and equipment, maintenance, efficiency improvement plans, shipping and procurement.
  • Ensure the successful planning for propagation and production of plants for the company’s sales.
  • Assess and improve facility and mechanization efficiency and profitability; institute accountability metrics.

Qualifications
  • Degree in agriculture, horticulture, plant pathology, crop and soil sciences and/or agribusiness or related business management field is required. MBA a plus.
  • Minimum of ten years of management within an agriculture, fresh produce, nursery, farming or horticulture industry, in a multinational production environment with full P & L and balance sheet responsibility.
  • Working knowledge of organizational development core principals, skilled at initiating changes in an organizational structure and fostering and reinforcing a positive culture and mission.
  • General financial acumen; understands core financial principals and fully appreciates the importance of cash flow.
  • Exceptional verbal (public speaking) and written communication skills.

PERSONALITY & STYLE CHARACTERISTICS
  • Ironclad integrity; exhibits confidence, curiosity, and humility.
  • An intellectual horsepower and fast learner who excels in managing business complexities.
  • Attentive listener; first response to issues or conflict is to listen.
  • A “people person” with strong interpersonal and management skills; demonstrates cultural sensitivity and respect in the workforce; treats people fairly with dignity and respect.
  • Naturally collaborative; able to move others forward to a mutually satisfactory conclusion when challenges arise.
  • Proven record of driving process improvement in an organization while being supportive and respectful of every employee, regardless of rank or tenure.
  • Able to parse between significant and insignificant; what is seen as significant is consistent with Nourse Farms, Inc.’s vision: Desire to continue with Nourse Farms, Inc.’s core vision of providing a great product, employee and customer care, workplace culture, and financial reward.
  • Works from plan and measures performance against goals/ objectives, can be flexible when situations change.
  • Makes decisions thoughtfully, whether individually or as part of a group; is careful to ensure all sides are listened to, uses a comprehensive and analytical approach.
  • Demonstrated negotiating skills. Ability to effectively negotiate with vendors and customers.
  • Decisive Leader who favors an open, honest and direct approach.
  • Entrepreneurial: Financially conservative yet commercially aggressive.
  • Must possess professional presence, maturity and credibility with the Board of Advisors, employees, customers and the trade.

To apply: Please apply on AgHires here: https://aghires.com/jobs/ceo-berry-plant-varieties-in-massachusetts-us/ or email your resume and/or cover letter to ryan@aghires.com