Policy Deputy Director
Fully Remote Remote, DC

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 supported thousands of farm families by improving farm viability and 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.


AFT has historically played an outsized role in the development of agricultural policy. At the federal level, AFT led the effort that incorporated a Conservation Title into the 1985 Farm Bill. AFT has also worked actively on other titles of the Farm Bill and on other federal issues, including farm viability, farmland access, and tax policies. At the state level, AFT had a direct role in the creation of 29 farmland protection programs and numerous current use taxation programs—and has successfully championed a wide range of legislation that has supported farmland retention, farmland access, and farm viability.

AFT is currently preparing a multiyear strategy aimed at advancing transformational agricultural policy at both the state and federal level, including through the 2023 Farm Bill. To achieve these goals, AFT has been expanding its policy team, which currently includes the Policy Director, Senior Policy Advisor, Climate Policy Manager, and Policy Associate as well as consultant support. We are seeking a Deputy Policy Director to expand synergies between our state and federal policy work, increase the capacity of the federal team, and provide additional strategic leadership and management.

Reporting to the Policy Director, the Deputy Policy Director position offers an exciting opportunity to shape and carry out the policy agenda of a growing, forward-looking agricultural conservation organization. In addition to working with AFT’s federal and regional/state policy teams, this role will work closely with AFT’s program, communications, and research staff. 

This position is not place-based and can be performed remotely. However, if performed remotely, applicants should expect to occasionally travel (20%) for key meetings, stakeholder engagements, board meetings, etc. Additional flexibility can be negotiated for pandemic considerations.  

What You'll Be Working On

The Deputy Policy Director has both internal and external facing responsibilities. These responsibilities include:

Strategic Planning: 

  • Lead strategic support, coordination, and integration of policy advocacy efforts between AFT’s state/regional offices and its federal policy team. 
  • Contribute to the development of advocacy and communications plans, particularly with respect to AFT’s 2023 Farm Bill advocacy


  • Lead implementation of a specific federal policy portfolio such as farm viability, farmland access, etc. (the issues managed will depend upon the expertise of the candidate)
  • Convene meetings between federal and state-level staff, identify and provide additional training and resources to meet the needs of policy staff. 
  • As appropriate, review, contribute to, and approve materials developed by federal policy staff.
  • Assume managerial responsibilities of AFT’s federal policy team in the absence of the Policy Director.
  • Contribute to the annual budgeting and work planning processes for the federal policy team and related projects.
  • Manage relationships with external consultants.
  • Support a strong team culture of shared learning, innovation, and problem-solving among AFT staff.
  • Oversee internal reporting and monitoring activities, including program metrics, executive team bullets, and workplan monitoring.


  • Enhance AFT’s recognition as a thought leader by seeking out opportunities to engage the public and stakeholders on AFT policy priorities and by representing AFT organization at events and agency, congressional, and coalition meetings.
  • Research, write, and edit white papers, public comments, and testimony on policy and programs as well as other communications materials such as fact sheets, presentations, blogs, statements, rapid response pieces, etc. 


  • Work with development staff, Policy Director, and others within AFT to identify potential funding sources 
  • Develop and contribute to grant proposals and meetings with current and prospective funders.

  The ideal candidate possesses:

  • Strong desire to advance AFT’s mission by developing supportive policy grounded in research findings.
  • Proven track record of delivering superior results and assuming leadership roles. 
  • Knowledge of state and/or federal legislative processes as well as state and/or federal agency policy-making process. 
  • Demonstrated project management skills and experience collaborating with diverse teams of colleagues, staff, and partners with flexibility and creativity.
  • Experience in developing partnerships with relevant stakeholders, such as farmers and ranchers, non-profits, the scientific community, corporations, and government agencies. 
  • Skill in translating complex issues and policy to diverse audiences in writing as well as through meetings and presentations. 
  • Strong writing and editing skills
  • Willingness to work around a demanding congressional schedule and deadlines. 
  • Self-motivated, organized, and able to stay on task when managing multiple projects.
  • Dedication to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice within AFT and across the agriculture and the food system. 
  • Ability to travel throughout country as needed (up to 20%).
  • If appropriate, ability to work effectively from home.

Desired Qualifications

  • Familiarity with federal agricultural programs related to conservation, farmland protection, farm viability, and/or farmland access.
  • Experience in state policy development, implementation, or advocacy.
  • Existing relationships with relevant national or regional stakeholder groups, congressional staff, and/or agency staff.  

Education & Experience 

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree in a relevant field such as public policy, political science, agriculture, or environmental science.
  • At least 6 years of total experience in state and/or federal policy, with 4 years relevant to agricultural viability, conservation, and/or farmland protection (experience can be substituted with post graduate degrees, fellowships, leadership programs, etc.).


$85,000 – $112,000 (Depending on qualifications). 


  • This position is NOT required to be in the Washington, DC area. However, applicants should expect to travel up to 20% of the time, including to the national office, regional offices, and elsewhere in the country. 

  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.