Who We Are
American Farmland Trust takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land, the agricultural practices used on that land, and the farmers and ranchers who do the work. Since our founding in 1980, AFT has helped permanently protect over 6.5 million acres of agricultural lands, advanced environmentally-sound farming practices on millions of additional acres and helped thousands of farm families make a go of it. Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities. We believe diversity drives innovation. We are inclusive. We embrace differences. We recognize and respect the fundamental value and dignity of all our employees. We celebrate the unique traditions, heritages, and experiences our employees bring to the workplace. We are committed to creating and sustaining an inclusive culture that promotes and values diversity, and where everyone feels empowered to bring their authentic selves to work every day.
Join us in driving the acceleration of permanent agricultural land protection in New Jersey. As a Farmland Protection Associate, you'll be at the forefront of a dynamic initiative, collaborating with innovative agricultural and conservation groups throughout the state. Your role involves facilitating vital programs that safeguard working lands, fortify farm businesses, and empower a new generation of farmers in accessing land.
This position, initially funded through a cooperative agreement with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), offers a unique opportunity to work closely with AFT's NY/NJ Regional Director and NRCS, supporting the promotion and administration of NRCS easement programs, including the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program – Agricultural Land Easements (ACEP-ALE).
Additionally, the Associate will contribute to AFT's outreach and program initiatives focused on safeguarding agricultural land. This role involves gaining familiarity with NRCS policies and guidance regarding conservation easement program implementation, and providing valuable guidance, feedback, and support to entities, including land trusts, public PACE programs, and NRCS staff involved in various projects.
The Farmland Protection Associate will work within AFT while working closely and learning from the Natural Resources Conservation Service. This position provides an excellent opportunity to grow expertise in land protection and work closely with a host of state and national partners. The Farmland Protection Associate will report to the NY/NJ Regional Director while working closely in the day to day with the NRCS staff. This is a full-time remote position based in New Jersey.
- Provide support to NRCS in the delivery and implementation of entity-held easement programs across the state.
- Support AFT and NRCS with Farm Bill conservation program and easement program outreach.
- Identify support needs from eligible entities and assist with capacity building to efficiently develop and complete agricultural conservation easement projects. This will include providing direct application and program assistance.
- Work with AFT’s National Agricultural Land Network (NALN) to provide content and assist with programs that support agricultural land protection professionals.
- Develop and maintain systems for tracking and coordinating land protection projects and regularly communicate the status of each task associated with a project to NRCS and appropriate entity.
- Ensure that agricultural conservation easement projects awarded NRCS funds stay on track with expected timeline for completion.
- Coordinate communications between NRCS, entity, and any necessary contractors working on a given project if needed (such as facilitating a discussion between a land surveyor and NRCS technical reviewer to resolve an issue).
- This person will also be required to complete other duties as assigned that contribute to the successful outreach, administration and acquisition of agricultural conservation easement programs and projects.
- Exceptional written and verbal communication skills, with a proven ability to engage diverse stakeholders, including farmers, agricultural landowners, agency staff, land trusts, elected officials, and professional service providers.
- While direct experience in agriculture, natural resources, and land protection is desirable, it is not mandatory.
- Dedication to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in AFT, agriculture, and the food system.
- Highly motivated, with strong interpersonal skills and a commitment to continuous professional growth.
- Exceptional organizational and discipline.
- Proficiency in quickly understanding and conveying complex issues.
- Demonstrated sound judgment, discretion, and the capacity to maintain confidentiality.
- Excellent project management skills and a history of successful collaboration within diverse teams of colleagues, peers, and external partners.
- Proven ability to work independently and effectively within cross-functional teams, even in positions that cross traditional reporting lines.
- Demonstrated ability to successfully work in a remote environment with little supervision.
- A bachelor’s degree in a relevant field and a minimum of 2 years of related work experience, or 4 years of relevant work experience in natural resources, conservation, land protection, agriculture, and/or project management.
- Although working remote from your home office this position requires traveling throughout the state to visit land protection sites and meet with partners. Occasional out-of-state travel may also be required for events such as all-staff meetings. Expected travel is 40% of time with most travel happening as day trips. (mileage reimbursement is offered)
- Access to reliable transportation
- Completion of a federal background check during the initial months of employment is required for this role. Continued employment is contingent on successful completion of this background check.
The salary range for this position is $60,000 - $65,000 commensurate with experience and qualifications.
While we expect the program and this role to continue, employment is subject to available funding.
American Farmland Trust offers a full benefits package for full time employees:
- Medical & Prescription Coverage
- Dental Coverage
- Vision Coverage
- Company Paid Life Insurance & Long-Term Disability (LTD)
- Voluntary Life Insurance
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Healthcare & Dependent Care
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
- 401(k) with 10% match after six months of employment
- Sick Leave: Regular full-time employees accrue 3.5 hours per pay period (13 “sick days” per year).
- Vacation Leave: Accrue 15 days during the first year increasing by one day per year to 20 days per
- Holidays: The Company observes the following fixed eleven holidays during the year (all offices closed): plus, choice of 3 other floating holidays depending on hiring date.
While applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled, applicants who apply by November 20th will be reviewed first. Please submit a cover letter with a resume for consideration.
We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, expression or identity, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which we have facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.