Who We Are
American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, 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 7 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 (primarily through programs that increase farm viability and/or enhance farmland access). 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. Please see AFT’s statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Justice.
What You Will Do
The Senior Technical Specialist (Specialist) is a leadership position that involves collaborating with USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and other stakeholders to facilitate farmers and landowners in adopting conservation practices and participating in Farm Bill conservation programs. In this role, you will lead and support AFT staff, actively engaging with farmers to overcome barriers and assist NRCS with implementing these practices. Your technical assistance will span a broad spectrum of agronomic and engineering practices, tailored to individual farms and practices. Examples of your contributions include securing conservation funding, connecting farmers with technical experts, selecting contractors, sourcing supplies, coordinating with government entities, and fostering effective communication between contractors, farmers, and NRCS staff, among other responsibilities. Join us and be a catalyst for positive change in sustainable agriculture!
You will work in a unique role, as an AFT employee, but in deep cooperation and frequent coordination with NRCS to ensure projects are not duplicated. NRCS and AFT will collaborate to guide your workflow to assure it is integrated with NRCS’s needs and utilizes the full depth of both NRCS and AFT resources and expertise.
Specific Responsibilities Include:
- Provide technical expertise on a broad range of agricultural stewardship projects including soil health management, nutrient management, and other related conservation practices.
- Supervise, train, and mentor staff to ensure high quality work and accountability with workplans and budgets.
- Coordinate technical agricultural stewardship projects, including collaboration with NRCS, to support farmers and landowners in implementing conservation practices.
- Coordinate with other AFT staff, relevant NRCS field staff and partners for outreach and support for farmers and landowners through the adoption of conservation practices.
- Develop and compile extensive notes on all interactions with farmers to properly document support and progress towards contract completion.
- Maintain records of work accomplishments for reports relative to all agricultural programs.
- Develop and curate a deep contact list of service providers and contractors.
- Participate in and support delivery of trainings as appropriate.
- Travel visiting diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions.
- At least 10 years of professional experience, working on farms or in land stewardship or land management positions. A college degree in a directly related field may be substituted for up to 4 years of work experience.
- Access to reliable transportation.
- While this position is remote in North Carolina a qualified candidate must reside in North Carolina to visit diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions up to 50% of the time.
- Technical certifications or credentials with conservation planning, soil health management, nutrient management or related fields is beneficial.
- A proven track record of planning and/or implementing conservation practices, with experience with NRCS funded conservation practices being especially valuable.
- Proven ability to develop relationships with others and support them in achieving their goals, ideally in a farming or land management context.
- Success in roles requiring simultaneous management of multiple priorities and processes under tight timelines is important.
- Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide array of people and ability to work in different work settings ranging from virtual, office and in the field.
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills are essential.
- A deep working knowledge of agriculture or conservation and an understanding of the culture of farmers and farming.
- 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.
Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate:
- Exceptionally motivated, displaying an entrepreneurial spirit and strong leadership skills.
- Possesses real-world experience in farming, land management, construction, or land stewardship, enabling the provision of practical assistance to farmers implementing conservation practices.
- Demonstrates an extensive network within the farming community and has a track record of collaborating with various farm types and diverse populations.
- Thrives on engaging with farmers, addressing challenges, and researching solutions to intricate, farm-specific issues with enthusiasm and energy, rather than feeling overwhelmed.
- Proven ability to work with efficiency, flexibility, and good humor.
- Ability to see the big picture while being incredibly detail oriented.
- Enthusiastic about American Farmland Trust's mission and the positive impact it makes.
The salary ranges from $74,100 to $80,186 for full-time employees, 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 complete benefits package:
•Medical & Prescription 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 year
•Holidays: The Company observes 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 with a resume and cover letter by December 17,2023 will be reviewed first.
Why you should apply:
•Be a part of a purpose-driven, committed, knowledgeable, high-performing, experienced and fun team
•A diverse and inclusive work environment
•A cause and mission you can be proud of
•Competitive compensation & benefits
•Remote work opportunities
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.