Internship in crop modelling at USDA, Summer 2015

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Internship in crop modelling at USDA, Summer 2015

Postby rene » Wed Apr 01, 2015 3:26 am

Hi all:

ERS is hoping to hire an intern this summer to assist us with crop modeling of several specialty crops (using EPIC) for input into our economic model of national agricultural production. The contract structure would involve establishing a cooperative agreement with that student’s educational institution that would cover the student’s time for the summer. We are seeking candidates who are interested in being stationed full-time at our offices in Washington DC over the summer. If you have students who you feel may be interested, or if you have networks through which you can distribute this announcement, we would appreciate the assistance in getting the word out! Below I have inserted a very brief position announcement, and any interested parties are encouraged to contact me to discuss. Thank you very much!

--Liz Marshall

Resource and Rural Economics Division
Economic Research Service, USDA
(202) 694-5571

Title of project: Calibration of Specialty Crop Production in EPIC for Input into REAP

Project Supervisor: Elizabeth Marshall, USDA/ERS,

The REAP model, a mathematical programming model of the U.S. agricultural sector, is an important tool for national agricultural policy and impact analysis at USDA’s Economic Research Service. One of REAP’s strengths is its explicit link to customized, field-level biophysical modeling results derived from EPIC, which is used to produce variable estimates for yield and environmental impact across crop rotations, soil types, and climate conditions within the REAP production regions. REAP is currently being expanded to include specialty crops—fruits, vegetables, and nuts—and a cooperative agreement with an external institution has been established for the development of the production input files necessary for the modeling of those specialty crops within EPIC. We are currently seeking an intern or external partner with crop modeling or EPIC experience to finalize the input production files for ERS’ iEPIC/EPIC platform, test and troubleshoot the results of the EPIC biophysical modeling, calibrate yield estimates, and collaborate on the reconciliation of cost of production estimates for those new specialty crop rotations (which are being developed through a separate internship).

Anticipated project activities include:
· Final formatting of production input files for specialty crops (which are being developed under a separate cooperative agreement) for ERS’ iEPIC/EPIC platform;
· Calibration of production of specialty crops using the EPIC biophysical simulation model;
· Assisting in the reconciliation of biophysical outputs and production input files with the production cost estimates being collected by another intern;
· Establishing a framework for feedback and input from crop production modelers at the Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville.

Desired skills/educational level:
The ideal candidate will have some background in agronomy and plant growth modeling as well as some facility with spreadsheet development. The candidate should have familiarity with software applications including Office suite (Word, Excel, Access) and SQL. Additional strengths would include any understanding of the U.S. fruit and/or vegetable sectors and/or GIS experience.

Location and Timeframe:
The intern or partner will work out of the offices of the Economic Research Service in Washington, DC. The intern or partner would ideally be available for at least three months between May 2015 and September 2015.

Compensation will depend on academic level, qualifications, and cooperative contract structure with student’s academic institution.

Elizabeth Marshall at, 202-694-5571.
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