American Farmland Trust (AFT) is the only national organization that takes a holistic approach to agriculture, focusing on the land itself, how that land is farmed or grazed, 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).
Washington, D.C. is the home of AFT's national office with a network of field offices across America where farmland is at risk. The Manager will be based at AFT’s office in Worthington, Ohio where they will work with the Agriculture Conservation Innovations Director and Midwest Director to develop annual program and budget goals. Annual evaluations will be based on achievement of specific performance benchmarks.
Duties and Responsibilities
The Agricultural Stewardship Program Manager (Manager) position offers an exciting opportunity to help build AFT’s stewardship program in Ohio for a growing, forward-looking conservation organization. This mid-level professional will work with the Midwest Director and the Agriculture Conservation Innovations Director, along with a growing team of professionals across America focused on emerging strategies that engage farmers in adopting sound farming practices to protect water quality, respond to the growing impact of climate change, and achieve other environmental benefits from well-managed farmland.
The Manager will build and maintain relationships with farmers and non-operating farmland owners as well as state and federal agencies, agricultural service providers, conservation leaders, and others to develop and implement strategies to facilitate adoption of conservation practices on farmland. Specific activities will include direct outreach to the farmers and landowners of rented farmland. The Manager will develop engaging educational programs, work with farmers and landowners directly to assess land for potential conservation activities, and foster partnerships and collaborations.
The Manager will bring an eye for creative solutions to help design specific projects as well as develop and manage project workplans and budgets. The Manager will also be involved in obtaining the necessary funds for their projects as well as the hiring and supervising of staff, consultants and/or interns. Specific position responsibilities include:
• Manage AFT’s Agricultural Stewardship initiatives in Ohio under the direction of the Ohio-based Agriculture Conservation Innovations Director and the Midwest Director.
• Develop and manage projects to accelerate agricultural stewardship including, but not limited to soil health, water quality, soil conservation, climate change resiliency, nutrient management, and conservation planning.
• Work directly with farmers and farmland owners, including women landowners, to accelerate the adoption of conservation practices on rented farmland.
• Build, facilitate, motivate, and coordinate partnerships with a diverse network of agricultural and conservation professionals including AFT state and national staff, NRCS, Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Ohio State University Extension, farmers, crop consultants and others.
• Engage farmers, landowners and other stakeholders in identifying barriers to conservation adoption and develop common sense, economically viable solutions to overcome such barriers.
• Assist in identifying and/or developing conservation and land assessment tools for farmers and landowners.
• Steward prospective and current funders and assist in the development of compelling proposals to secure funding for priority projects and provide input on reporting results.
• Represent AFT at public meetings, field days, and educational events.
The Manager must be entrepreneurial and a capable problem solver. They must be highly motivated with strong interpersonal skills. Excellent communication skills (phone, public presentation, writing, partner relations) and creativity are essential. Direct professional experience working with farmers, farmland owners – including women landowners, state and federal agencies, soil and water conservation districts, conservation organizations and others – is strongly preferred.
Previous on-farm experience or related agricultural sectors is also preferred. Previous experience or willingness to learn agricultural conservation planning and implementation issues and techniques is required.
• A BA or BS degree and a minimum of 5 years of related work experience in agriculture, environmental management, or natural resource planning. An advanced degree in one or more of the disciplines noted may substitute for two years of work experience.
• Project and budget management experience as well as fundraising experience necessary.
• Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
• Ability to foster effective partnerships with Extension educators, soil and water conservation districts, USDA and state agency personnel, farmers, landowners – including women landowners, and others is highly valuable.
• Experience with public outreach, community engagement and communications are preferred.
• Facility with the Microsoft Office Suite is required – additional experience with social media is preferred.
• Some travel necessary.
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.