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.
Through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP), AFT is collaborating with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to increase the adoption of regenerative agriculture practices on livestock farms in Western New England. Other collaborative partners include the University of Connecticut, the University of Vermont, the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts, the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Consider Pastures by Pete and Gerry’s and New England Dairy. The goal of this project is to incentivize, educate and provide technical assistance to livestock farmers for regenerative practices that improve degraded plant condition, water quality and habitat for pollinators. As part of this effort, AFT Apprentice Farm Conservation Planners will work directly with livestock producers to plan and implement conservation practices on farms across the region.
What You will Be Working On
The primary responsibilities of this position are to provide technical assistance to livestock farmers, produce natural resource conservation plans, conduct outreach, and assist farmers in navigating financial assistance opportunities. Specific responsibilities include:
- Work with farmers and landowners to evaluate the natural resources on their property and select suitable conservation practices to address resource concerns
- Receive referrals, contact farmers, and make field conservation planning visits
- Compile necessary documentation for NRCS conservation plan including plan maps, environmental evaluations, job sheets, etc.
- Provide farmers with information on financial assistance opportunities and assist with the application and contracting process
- Certify that conservation practices are planned to meet standards and specifications
- Establish and maintain conservation planning files
- Assist with outreach for the project by participating in on-farm events, connecting with local agriculture groups, contacting interested farmers, etc.
- Maintain records of work accomplishments
- Participate in virtual and in-person trainings, with the opportunity to pursue NRCS Technical Service Provider Certification
- Demonstrated experience providing technical assistance to farmers/landowners or direct experience in production agriculture
- Knowledge of New England agriculture, livestock production and soil health principles
- Familiarity with field-based conservation practices and federal and state policies and programs to support agricultural conservation
- Willingness to engage with and support livestock producers
- Experience working collaboratively with diverse partners and audiences
- Excellent organizational skills and the ability to independently manage and prioritize work
- Passion for American Farmland Trust’s mission and impact
- Knowledge of equal opportunity and civil rights requirements of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Employment Act, the willingness and ability to aid delivery of programs and services that are carried out without regard to race, color, national origin, gender, religion, age, physical/mental disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status, and maintain a positive regard for civil rights in all interactions with clients and others
- Familiarity with MS Office applications, experience with GIS software is preferred
- A valid driver's license and access to reliable transportation
- The following certifications would be valuable but not required, and should be highlighted in a resume or cover letter: American Society of Agronomy (ASA) Certified Crop Advisor (CCA) or Certified Professional Agronomist (CPAg); National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants (NAICC) Certified Professional Crop Consultant (CPCC); The Wildlife Society Certified or Associate Wildlife Biologist; Society of American Foresters (SAF) Certified Forester; Association of Consulting Foresters (ACF) Full Membership; Society of Ecological Restoration Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner; Ecological Society of America Certified Ecologist; Society for Range Management (SRM) Certified Range Management Consultant; or American Forage and Grassland Council (AFGC) Certified Grassland Professional.
Education and Experience
The Apprentice Farm Conservation Planners must be comfortable working both at a desk and in the field on farms directly with farmers and other landowners and individuals. Additionally, they must EITHER:
- Have a bachelor's or higher degree in Forestry, Agronomy, Soils, Animal or Plant Science, Natural Resources, or Rangeland Management, OR
- Experience in planning, design, installation/layout, inspection, checkout and certification of soil health management or grazing/forages practices or providing technical assistance to clients with land management and related practices.
American Farmland Trust offers excellent vacation, medical, retirement and other benefits. Salary range for this position is from $48,000 to $55,000 based upon experience.
Apprentice Farm Conservation Planners will serve specific project areas and are expected to telework from the region they are serving. The position open at this time will serve Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, Hampden and Worcester Counties in Massachusetts. This position will require regular travel within their service area and occasional travel outside of the service area for training. Mileage reimbursement will be provided. Hiring will be contingent upon the ability to meet the qualifications necessary to obtain a federal security clearance for working in close alignment with NRCS, including, but not limited to, fingerprinting and a background check.
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. Please answer the screener questions and be sure to include a cover letter and resume to be considered.