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.
Our programming across the country, but especially within New England has grown exponentially. That growth has been focused on supporting, building relationships with, and more deeply connecting to farmers, thought leaders, and policymakers across the region as we seek transformative change to our agricultural systems within the region.
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.
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.
Reporting to the New England Policy Manager, AFT is seeking a Policy Associate in the region to increase our capacity to advance policies that save farmland, promote sound farming practices, and keep farmers on the land. This position is remote, but the candidate must be located within New England, and will, preferably be based in Maine.
This is an exciting opportunity to help carry out the policy agenda of a growing, forward-thinking, agricultural conservation organization. This exceptionally organized and highly motivated individual will have two primary roles: 1. Advocating for and advancing policies that save the land that sustains us and 2. Supporting the New England Policy Manager and other regional staff with coordination, outreach, regular communications, and providing research to key stakeholders. Under the guidance of the New England Policy Manager, the Policy Associate will create a detailed advocacy strategy for AFT New England’s policy work in Maine; coordinate and elevate the Working Lands Alliance project in Connecticut; and play a supportive role in advancing policy work that is being led by key regional partners whose mission aligns with AFT.
The ideal candidate will be knowledgeable about agriculture, energy, and farmland protection policy in New England and will be an experienced collaborator. This supportive role will aid the New England policy team in expanding and diversifying AFT’s reputation and relationships with allied organizations, policymakers, State Department of Agriculture officials, farmers, and thought leaders. They will also work closely with other AFT team members on both the New England team and the Federal Policy Team. This role will communicate key policy initiatives related but not limited to farmland protection, farmland access, climate-smart agriculture and soil health, smart solar siting, and PFAS contamination in farmland to stakeholders, policymakers, and the public.
- Represent AFT at Maine stakeholder meetings and under the guidance of the New England, Policy Manager lead AFT’s advocacy efforts in the state;
- Research best practices, new and emerging policy trends, and conducting policy scans, in coordination with other AFT staff to guide and support policy development and advancement in the region. Research topics may include but are not limited to farmland protection, farmland access, renewable energy siting, business technical assistance and soil health initiatives that help farmers combat climate change;
- Coordinate the Working Lands Alliance (WLA) Steering Committee functions including but not limited to scheduling meetings, assisting with the preparation of materials, agenda, and presentations; notetaking; and supporting follow-up communications;
- Organize New England policy events. This involves reserving event space, coordinating caterers and speakers, sending out event invitations, and assisting with follow-up;
- Draft testimony and organizational sign-on letters of support for key policies and programs; public comments to State Agency officials; emails and event invitations to key state leaders and lawmakers; white papers on specific policy provisions (e.g. Option to Purchase at Agricultural Value, PFAS contamination on Farmland, etc.); action alerts and other necessary advocacy documentation, as needed, to the general public;
- Help coordinate programs for a diversity of stakeholders across multiple formats, such as webinars, networking events, and educational workshops;
- Respond to email and phone inquiries from farmers, landowners, organizations, and the public regarding AFT’s policy work;
- Assist with coordinating internal meetings and communications to ensure timely completion of program activities;
- Help to build farmer engagement with advancing AFT’s policy agenda by phone or email and attending conferences with the Policy Manager;
- Assist with content development and delivery for social media campaigns, regular email updates, and other digital communications; and
- Support the development and drafting of stories of farmers and others that are engaged in AFT’s programs.
This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list of job-related responsibilities, duties, skills, efforts, requirements or working conditions. While this is intended to be a reflection of the current job, management reserves the right to revise the job or to require that other or different tasks be performed as assigned.
All job requirements are subject to possible revision to reflect changes in the position requirements or to reasonably accommodate individuals with disabilities. Some requirements may exclude individuals who pose a threat or risk to the health and safety of themselves or other employees. This job description in no way states or implies that these are the only duties to which will be required in this position. Employees will be required to follow other job-related duties as requested by their supervisor/manager (within guidelines and compliance with Federal and State Laws). Continued employment remains on an “at-will” basis.
We are seeking a highly motivated individual who shares in our passion to advance conservation and agricultural policies in the region. A strong candidate for this role is a versatile and persuasive writer, detail and task oriented, collaborative in nature and is good at building and maintaining relationships with others. This individual will have experience coordinating group meetings, setting agendas, taking minutes, and is timely in meeting follow-up. Candidates that are based in Maine, understand Maine agriculture, energy policy, and farmland protection, or have experience working on public policy in Maine with be prioritized.
Knowledge, Approach and Know-how:
- You are curious and approach new groups with an open mind and are thoughtful in how you engage with diverse stakeholders. You can successfully build and maintain productive relationships with these stakeholders.
- You are highly organized, a quick learner, have an ability to adapt to new processes and context. You can juggle multiple tasks, policy issue areas, and competing priorities in a high-energy environment.
- You are committed to creating diverse coalitions and promoting/centering issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion in American Farmland Trust’s policy work.
- You are outgoing and energetic.
Nuts and Bolts Experience:
- You have a basic understanding of farmland protection, farmland access, soil health, and solar siting policies in New England, as well as a familiarity with State and/or Local policy-making processes
- You are extremely independent
- You are a strong writer and can demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively to diverse stakeholders (e.g. how would you explain soil health policy to a farmer vs. explaining it to a public official?)
- Experience with Microsoft Office and Google Docs is required
- Familiarity with Microsoft SharePoint and Teams a plus.
- Additional computer skills, including experience with web design, Salsa, social media or GIS are preferred
- Fluency in a second language is desired but not required
Education and Experience
- 5 years’ experience working in one of the following areas: farmland protection, energy, or agricultural conservation, with at least one year focused on policy work in these areas, OR
- An advanced degree in law or public policy with demonstrated expertise in agriculture, sustainable development, climate policy, conservation, farmland protection, or natural resource planning.
The position requires travel around New England to attend conferences and events, conduct partner and community outreach, and host technical assistance workshops, but such travel is not more than 25% of the time. In addition, infrequent overnight travel or travel to other national locations may be required when directly connected to AFT outcomes.
American Farmland Trust offers excellent vacation, medical, retirement, and other benefits. The salary range for this position is from $52,000 - $57,000 depending on experience.
While applications will be accepted until the position is filled, applicants who apply with a resume and cover letter prior to November 22nd will be given primary consideration.
American Farmland Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, 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 the organization has 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.