Who We Are
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. 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.
Purpose of this Position
The Midwest Program Manager position offers an exciting opportunity to help carry out the strategic agenda of a growing, forward-looking conservation organization. S/he 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.
The Midwest Program Manager takes an active role in defining the regional program strategy and developing related work plans to increase on-farm adoption of conservation cropping systems. This includes providing leadership for AFT’s role in the Illinois Cover Crop Initiative and Saving Tomorrow’s Agriculture Resources, and identifying additional opportunities in the Upper Midwest. Primary activities include engaging with internal and external partners to identify opportunities, securing funds to support program work, tracking deliverables and project budgets, ensuring that invoices and reports are submitted on time, and providing supervision for project staff. The Program Manager reports to the Midwest Deputy Director. While this is a remote-based position, the selected candidate must reside in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin, or relocate to one of the listed states within 4 months of starting the position.
Duties and Responsibilities
- Develop and manage projects to accelerate the adoption of conservation cropping systems, advance state and regional soil health and water quality goals, and help farmers adapt to climate disruptions.
- Supervise field-based program staff and work with stakeholders to increase adoption of conservation cropping systems, track outreach and education events, and ensure consistent messaging to advance program goals.
- Develop annual plans of work and track project budgets, activities and outcomes, and contribute to project-related reports.
- Develop and maintain relationships with team members and external partners including farmers, ag retailers, commodity groups, corporations, government agencies, and non-profit organizations.
- Manage contracts and memorandums of understanding between partner organizations and ensure successful completion of deliverables.
- Develop programs for a diversity of stakeholders across multiple formats, such as webinars, networking events, educational workshops, and field days.
- Support program growth and development by stewarding prospective and current funders and assist in the development of compelling proposals to federal, state, and private funders to secure funding for priority projects and report on results. This includes identifying new program opportunities in the Upper Midwest.
- Provide communications staff with content for social media campaigns, regular email updates, and other digital communications, including narratives describing farmers who have successfully transitioned to conservation cropping systems and others engaged in AFT programs.
- Represent AFT at public meetings, field days, and educational events.
- Complete other duties as assigned.
The Midwest Program Manager must be entrepreneurial and a self-starter, outgoing and energetic, organized, and capable of working well independently as well as part of a team.
- BA or BS degree and a minimum of 5 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 2 years of work experience.
- Supervisory experience including motivating, leading, setting objectives, and managing budgets and deadlines.
- 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.
- Direct professional experience building networks, partnership development, and organizing events for farmers, landowners, and agricultural professionals.
- 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, inclusion, and justice, and knowledgeable about how those principles can be effectively applied in practice.
- Reside in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin and be willing to travel within the Midwest Region (up to 15%).
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 $70,000 to $75,000. Salary is negotiable based upon experience.
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.