Midwest Program Associate

American Farmland Trust 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 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 (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.

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.


The Midwest Program Associate position offers an exciting opportunity to help carry out the strategic agenda of a growing, forward-looking conservation organization. They will have the opportunity to work across teams within AFT’s Midwest Region, as well as with external partners including farmers, landowners, and agricultural professionals. This a permanent position that will work to support and build upon AFT programs in the Midwest, including staff working in Chicago, central and southern Illinois, and Wisconsin. 

The Program Associate (PA) provides critical support to identify strategies to integrate small grain and perennial bioenergy crops into Midwest crop rotations. The PA will work under the supervision of the Midwest Program Manager, and as directed, will provide support to other staff in the Midwest Region.

What You’ll Be Working On

  • Convene focus groups and listening sessions in selected geographies with key stakeholders. 
  • Build a coalition of partners to guide market formation, map opportunities for ecosystem service payments, and prioritize recommendations.  
  • Support the development of scenarios to inform model development, including assembling data layers and criteria setting to maximize producer profitability and provision of environmental outcomes.
  • Work one-on-one with farmers and landowners to provide technical support and develop management plans that ensure successful transition to diversified cropping systems. 
  • Assist in program planning and coordination of activities for a diversity of stakeholders across multiple formats, such as webinars, networking events, educational workshops and field days.
  • Manage event logistics, including scheduling, registration, minutes and following up on action items. 
  • Help build positive relations with the team and external partners.
  • Track project activities and outcomes and contribute to project-related reports.
  • Assist in program promotion via a variety of communication channels such as blogs, newsletters, press releases, social media, etc.
  • Support program growth and development.
  • Represent AFT at public meetings, field days, and educational events.
  • Work on other tasks as assigned.

The Midwest Program Associate must be entrepreneurial and a self-starter, outgoing and energetic, organized, and capable of working well independently as well as part of a team and possesses: 

  • Direct professional experience building networks, partnership development, and organizing events for farmers, landowners, and agricultural professionals.    
  • Direct professional experience providing technical recommendations in the form of conservation management planning and interpretation of results from environmental and cropping system models. 
  • Direct professional experience working with farmers, non-farming landowners, women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or other socially disadvantaged farmers public officials, agricultural and conservation organizations, commodity groups, and academic institutions. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills and proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite. 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with demonstrated commitment to high-quality work.
  • Knowledge of the Midwest agricultural landscape, natural resource concerns and key stakeholders. 
  •  Demonstrated commitment to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and justice and knowledgeable about how those principles can be effectively applied in practice.  
  • Willingness and ability to travel within the Midwest Region.

Education & Experience

  • BA or BS degree and a minimum of 2 years of related work experience in agriculture or natural resource planning. An advanced degree in one or more of the disciplines noted may substitute for 1 year of work experience.


American Farmland Trust pays salaries that are competitive with nonprofits of our budget size, and offers meaningful vacation, medical, retirement and other benefits. Salary range is from $42,000 to $50,000. Salary is negotiable based upon experience.  

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
  • Flexible scheduling

Ready to apply? If this job sounds like a fit for you, then click on the ‘apply’ button below.