American Farmland Trust is a 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. 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.
What You Will Do
As an integral part of AFT’s New England Climate and Agriculture team, the Senior Research Specialist develops, implements and communicates research and outreach through collaborations with farmers and agricultural organizations across New England. This Sr. Research Specialist position will focus specifically on advancing AFT’s research and outreach with livestock farmers in New England and delivering technical expertise to stakeholders and collaborators across the agricultural community.
As a member of AFT’s Climate and Agriculture team in New England, the Sr. Research Specialist will implement diverse strategies to support climate resilience on livestock farms in New England, both by advising on implementation of climate adaptation practices and increasing understandings of management changes that contribute to carbon sequestration and emissions reductions. The Climate and Agriculture Team utilizes multiple modes of engagement with farmers to support climate resilient agriculture and the Sr. Research Specialist will collaborate with existing staff to enhance current efforts as well as develop new strategies to advance our work. The Sr. Research Specialist must bring a team-oriented approach to this work and willingness to engage in creative problem solving with collaborators. This is a unique position with opportunity for creativity and growth in the scope of work.
Reporting to the Senior Manager for Climate and Agriculture, the Sr. Research Specialist will coordinate emerging projects on grazing and agrivoltaics, support existing research and outreach programs focused on soil health, and explore new partnerships. Central to this role is providing technical expertise to ongoing research trials, providing content expertise on forage production and grazing to local and regional audiences, traveling to farms in Central and Northern New England and growing relationships with dairy producers, livestock farmers and poultry operations. The Sr. Research Specialist will bring their experience in the design and management of on-farm research trials, and a background in agronomy, soil science, horticulture, animal science or natural resources to the inform the growth of programs that serve farmers in New England.
Specific Responsibilities Include:
- Design and implement integrated research and outreach projects that evaluate soil health, forage quality, yields, economics and environmental outcomes.
- Contribute to experimental design of on-farm research to assess the effectiveness of conservation practices, regenerative agriculture and agroecological innovations.
- Collect, analyze and interpret soil health, yield and forage quality data for technical research projects and for farmers.
- Collaborate with farmers, farm advisors, social scientists, economists and other agricultural stakeholders to develop research that is holistic, integrated and impactful.
Outreach & education
- Deliver high quality trainings on grazing planning, forge production and climate resilience to farmers, farm advisors, and diverse audiences.
- Collaborate with technical and extension experts across New England to effectively enhance available educational and training opportunities, including on-farm demonstrations, in-field trainings, peer learning events, presentations, & webinars.
- Serve as a trusted source of information to the grazing community in the region and beyond.
- Develop and sustain relationships with farmer partners, and support farmer-to-farmer learning opportunities.
- Translate current research on climate change for relevance to livestock farmers in New England.
- Contribute to written reports and content that communicates thought leadership, case studies and new research findings to regional and national audiences.
- Provide content expertise to colleagues at AFT, and assist with external stakeholder engagement as needed.
- Provide technical expertise and assistance to farmers on implementation of grazing planning, pasture management, soil health management, conservation practices, field crop production, farmyard planning and edge-of-field practices.
- Support the success of on-farm trials and demonstrations with thorough implementation planning, on-the-ground work, data collection, and on-site technical advising.
- Travel to farms across New England in lead and supporting roles to
Project coordination & fundraising
- Collaborate closely with the New England Climate and Agriculture team members and soil health program staff to ensure the success of projects.
- Take a leadership role in projects within the New England Climate and Agriculture team concerned with grazing and field crops.
- Support the growth and success of the program through the development of funding proposals & consulting projects.
- Ensure high quality work and accountability to project deliverables and co-workers.
- Maintain a supportive and inclusive work environment across AFT.
- The ideal candidate has at least 10 years of experience in soil health and grazing and at least 4 years of applied research and outreach experience with soil health and grazing plans, and working knowledge of current issues in herd heath, feed management and manure management innovations and an MS degree with significant evidence of project and thought leadership experience, OR 4 years of applied research and outreach experience with soil health and grazing plans, and working knowledge of current issues in herd heath, feed management and manure management innovations and a PhD.
- This position is part of AFT’s New England team with the possibility of a remote work arrangement. A willingness to travel across the New England region to visit farms and attend events is a must.
- Must have direct professional experience working on agriculture and climate issues.
- Must be able to work closely with farmers and agriculture organizations as well as environmental organizations, universities, and state/federal government agencies.
- Knowledgeable about climate change resilience research with specific experience working with agronomic or grazing systems and data.
- Deep technical knowledge and research experience directly in agriculture, soil health, climate change science, and their interactions.
- Knowledge of and experience working with soil health practices and their impacts on climate change mitigation, adaptation, and environmental co-benefits.
- Experience using GIS, R or other statistical software packages, and meta-data analysis.
- Experience synthesizing complex, ecological data sets, and compiling literature reviews.
- Knowledgeable of agricultural research design basics-- on-farm trials or replicated plots.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills, including delivering presentations and publishing reports or manuscripts
- Comfortable translating complex scientific information to broad audiences; writing reports and presenting at scientific meetings, farmer/rancher focused workshops, policy makers, and conservation planner training events
- Demonstrated project management and interpersonal skills
- Must bring a collaborative, outgoing, professional, and innovative approach to tackling these issues.
- Ability to deliver high quality work in a dynamic organization with quick turnaround times.
- While not required, experience working in diverse agricultural systems; multi-lingual skills and cross-cultural experiences; working knowledge of key climate models and tools relevant to agriculture; experience working with carbon or other environmental service-based markets; and knowledge of current policies and programs supported at state and national levels as related to agriculture, soil health, and climate mitigation will be relevant and highly beneficial in this role.
American Farmland Trust offers excellent vacation, medical, retirement and other benefits. Salary range for this position is from $65,000 to $85,000, based upon experience.
While applications will be accepted until the position is filled, AFT will draw from applicants who apply with a resume and cover letter by February 15th first.
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.
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.