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.
Reporting to the New England Regional Director, the Northeast Solar Specialist works across regional and national programs to help set and implement AFT’s strategy at the intersection of solar energy generation and farmland conservation (Solar), with a primary focus on three Northeastern Regions, including New England, New York/New Jersey, and Mid-Atlantic Regions (Northeast). The Specialist will also collaborate and coordinate with other staff to help ensure that AFT’s programming in the Northeast is funded, strategic, synergistic, efficiently delivered, well-received, and impactful while supporting AFT’s smart solar siting efforts in other regions of the country.
What You’ll Be Working On
AFT seeks to accelerate the pace of solar development while protecting the most productive, versatile, and resilient farmland, all while expanding economic opportunities compatible with agriculture through dual use or other means. As an integral part of the AFT Programs team, the Solar Specialist will:
- Work closely with other staff to chart AFT’s response to the challenges and opportunities presented by rapid growth in solar development across the Northeast.
- Take the lead in designing, securing funding for, and implementing AFT’s Solar related programs in the Northeast.
- Provide thought leadership, coordination, and support to other AFT staff on Solar issues outside of the Northeast with a focus on program development, funding, and policy.
- Work with regional and national policy staff to help further Solar policy objectives in the Northeast and at the national level.
- Foster external collaboration across diverse sectors, including agriculture, environment, energy, local governments, and others, to accelerate solar siting while sustaining opportunities for agriculture and other goals.
- Cultivate significant relationships with corporate, government and foundation funders to assure sustainable funding for Solar programs.
- Effectively communicate with stakeholders, funders, government organizations, and the public about AFT’s work as a leader on the intersection of solar energy and agriculture.
- Take a primary role in designing, funding, and implementing a third-party certification program for agricultural dual use solar arrays, starting in New England.
- Other duties as assigned or directed.
The ideal candidate is outgoing, energetic, and passionate about combatting climate change, conserving farmland, and accelerating renewable energy development, and has:
- A deep and extensive understanding of the solar energy development community, ideally with a strong focus on public policy relative to solar energy development and siting, including the land-use and conservation impacts.
- Familiarity with the policy landscape for solar energy generation and siting across the Northeast and at the federal level.
- Strong and positive relationships with policy makers relevant to AFT’s Solar work in multiple states in the Northeast.
- Solid relationships with government and foundation funders who are likely to fund Solar programming.
- A technical understanding of solar energy development.
- The ability to interact comfortably with farmers, developers, advocates, policy makers and funders.
- Held a position with primary responsibility for securing major funding for programming efforts.
- A work history of developing and implementing effective programs and projects.
- Project management skills and experience working in diverse teams of individuals, peers, and partners.
- A demonstrated commitment to advancing issues of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion within a workplace or within a primary area of professional focus.
- Demonstrated experience and success in a position that worked across traditional reporting lines.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills with a track record of engaging public speaking.
- Strong interpersonal skills.
- A collaborative, outgoing, professional, and innovative approach to tackling issues.
- The ability to deliver high quality work in a dynamic organization under time pressure.
Education & Experience
- A minimum of 6 years work experience in a senior role within the solar energy development community with a primary focus on public policy, community engagement, or solar siting issues. An advanced degree in a related field may be substituted for up to 3 of the required 6 years.
- A minimum of 10 years of combined related work experience in renewable energy development, fundraising, public policy, public administration, or program management. An undergraduate degree in a related field may be substituted for up to 4 years of the required 10 years.
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. Applications received by 3/19/21 will be given primary consideration