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Open Position-Seed Bank Inventory Technician

Seed Savers Exchange's seed vault. A tan rectangular building.

Please email a cover letter, resumé, and the contact information for three references as a single PDF to [email protected] – include the name of the position in the subject line of your email. Applications may also be mailed to: Seed Savers Exchange | Attn: Peggy Miller | 3094 North Winn Rd. | Decorah, IA 52101.

Seed Bank Inventory Technician

FLSA Status: Non-exempt
Position Status: Regular, Full-time
Reports to: Seed Bank Manager
Supervisory Role: No
Compensation: $17.00/hour

Primary Role

This position will work closely with the 20,000+ seed varieties in SSE’s seedbank to ensure they are stored and organized  in a manner that promotes long term seed health and distribution to the public. This position primarily oversees the  packaging of seed entering the seed bank, and distributions of seed being requested by the public. They will work closely  with the seed bank germination technician to perform all seed lab duties, which fluctuate on a yearly cycle. This includes  germination testing, corn hand pollination, and field work during the peak seasons. While this position is mostly lab work,  it does involve a good amount of field work during the growing season, and is a balance of independent and team tasks.  We are looking for an individual with passion for our mission, strengths in organization and detail, and who’s interested in  managing the day to day tasks that are vital for the functioning of the seed bank as well as creative, open ended, big  picture projects that will increase the seedbank’s capacity to achieve SSE’s mission. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Inventory Management 

  • Package, inventory, and store regenerated and recently acquired plant material in a timely manner -Implement seed storage protocols and maintain accurate inventory records 
  • Prepare seed samples, identification tags and reports for yearly grow outs and other distributions -Coordinate, prepare, and package annual deposits to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault and the USDA back-up sites
  • Work with the Seed Bank Manager on inventory projects to improve the seed bank’s organization, accuracy, and  efficiency. 
  • Complete additional inventory-related tasks as assigned such as creating inventory records, inventory reorganization  projects, and repackaging older inventory 

Fulfilling Yearbook/Seed Exchange Requests 

  • Enter orders received into NetSuite and Microsoft access database 
  • Prepare, package, and ship samples of seeds, scion wood, and vegetative plant materials 

Corn Hand Pollination  

  • Assist with corn hand pollination program from June through August  
  • Monitor corn varieties closely for tassel and shoot development  
  • Bag shoots and tassels and perform hand pollinations  
  • Assist with harvesting and processing corn as needed  

Inter-Departmental Responsibilities 

  • Assist germination tech in performing germination and moisture content tests in keeping with AOSA (Association of  Official Seed Analysts) Rules and Seed Savers Exchange protocols during peak seasons 
  • Assist with field work as needed during peak times from April through September 
  • Assist with seed cleaning and processing including fleshy fruit processing and dry seed crop processing as needed -Assist Evaluation Team with seed evaluation on charismatic seed including identifying off-types and scanning inventory
  • Assist Evaluation team with maintaining plants, harvesting crops, clearing/replanting garden beds, data input, and other  related duties assigned by the Evaluation Manager, in the months of August and September, up to 30 hours per week
  • Perform additional related duties as assigned by the Seed Bank Manager 

External-Department Responsibilities 

  • Professionally represent SSE while interacting with members, visitors, board members and guests during informal  interactions, tours, presentations, and workshops 
  • Communicate with members and the general public about the seed and plant collection 
  • Participate in company-wide job share tasks as needed throughout the year 


  • Exceptional organizational skills 
  • Ability to manage multiple tasks and priorities, while meeting deadlines 
  • Excellent attention to detail 
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills 
  • Creative approach to problem solving 
  • Ability to manage repetitive/mundane tasks 

 Physical Requirements 

  • Able to sit and stand for long periods  
  • Ability to perform repetitive motions for long periods is essential  
  • Work in temperature extremes including cold storage rooms kept as cold as 0 degrees F and high heat and humidity  during the fieldwork season 
  • Ability to lift at least 25 pounds 


  • Degree or related work experience in plant science, biology, botany, horticulture, environmental science or a related field 
  • Demonstrated record of working independently and as part of a team  
  • 1 year experience in horticulture, biology, museum studies, or seed industry preferred but not required 
  • Experience in seed biology, seed storage, germination testing, and corn pollination is a bonus  


  • Paid holidays & PTO  
  • Long Term Disability & Life Insurance (paid for by the company)  
  • Employee merchandise discounts  
  • Wellness program with annual stipend and paid day off  
  • Medical, dental and vision coverage available 

Seed Savers Exchange is an equal opportunity employer and enthusiastically encourages people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences to apply. Seed Savers Exchange does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), gender identity, national origin, citizenship, age, mental or physical disability, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.