Who We Are American Farmland Trust (AFT) 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.
What You Will Do As our Senior Conservation Technical Specialist (Sr. Specialist) in Massachusetts, you will play a leadership role in supporting farmers and other landowners in implementing conservation practices and participating in USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) Farm Bill conservation programs You'll bring applied technical knowledge to guide and manage a small team of AFT staff to directly engage with farmers and support them to overcome barriers to implementing conservation practices. The technical assistance you provide will support a wide range of agronomic and engineering practices that will vary by farm and practice. Examples of technical assistance include: helping to secure conservation funding; referring farmers to and/or consulting with other technical experts; identifying appropriate options and sources for contractors, supplies or specialized equipment; coordinating with other government entities; facilitating communication between contractors, farmers and NRCS staff; and more. You will work in a unique role; as an AFT employee, but in deep cooperation and frequent coordination with NRCS to assure workflow is integrated with NRCS's needs and utilizes the full depth of both NRCS and AFT resources and expertise. This leadership role will involve direct delivery and support for farmers and landowners while also supporting and coordinating other AFT staff who are helping farmers proactively implement practices. The ideal candidate must bring a team-oriented, patient and problem-solving approach to this work, which spans from the highly technical and detail-oriented to the highly relational and collaborative.
- Manage, coordinate, support and build a team of 6-8 AFT staff who provide conservation planning, technical assistance and outreach and support services to farmers of all types in partnership with NRCS around farm bill programs.
- Provide technical expertise on a broad range of agricultural stewardship projects including one or more of the following: soil health management, nutrient management, water management, conservation cropping practices, on-farm energy, conservation planning and/or other related conservation practices.
- Coordinate technical, agricultural stewardship projects, including collaboration with NRCS, to support farmers and landowners in implementing conservation practices.
- Supervise, train, and mentor staff to ensure high quality work and accountability with workplans and budgets.
- Coordinate with other AFT staff, relevant NRCS field staff and partners on outreach and support for farmers and landowners.
- Perform the duties of an AFT Implementation Specialist as needed, including: directly contact with farmers holding NRCS financial assistance contracts; identify and address project completion barriers; maintain contract files, workload registers, and mailing/contact lists; attend NRCS field operations team leadership meetings as needed.
- Aid in the interpretation and layout of conservation practices, and in verifying completed practices.
- Manage, oversee and maintain records of work accomplishments for internal and external reporting and communications, including extensive notes on all interactions with farmers to properly document support and progress towards contract completion.
- Develop and curate a deep contact list of service providers and contractors.
- Plan, participate in and support delivery of trainings as appropriate, including supporting climate-related practice workshops for farmers and technical service providers in collaboration with NRCS and AFT staff.
- Work with AFT New England leadership team and AFT communication staff to actively communicate about the work and contribute to outreach materials.
- Cultivate and maintain strong relationships with local, state and federal officials, agricultural, conservation, food and community organizations and others;
- Represent AFT at meetings, trainings, field days, and educational events.
- Travel within the state or regionally to visit diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions.
This is not necessarily an all-inclusive list of job-related responsibilities. Management reserves the right to revise the job or to require other or different duties be performed as assigned.
Qualifications of the Ideal Candidate The Senior Technical Specialist must be a highly motivated and entrepreneurial problem solver and effective leader. They should be able to use their real-world experience on farms, or in other land management, construction, or land stewardship jobs to provide actionable assistance to farmers seeking to implement conservation practices on their land. The ideal candidate will have experience planning and/or implementing conservation practices through NRCS programs, and technical certifications or credentials in conservation planning, soil health management, nutrient management or related fields. They will also have existing connections within the farm community and will have experience working with a wide variety of farm types and with diverse populations. The ideal candidate will find visiting farmers on their farm, problem solving, and researching solutions to challenging farm specific problems exciting and invigorating, not overwhelming and intimidating.Excellent communication skills (meeting facilitation, phone, writing, partner relations), record keeping, and task management are essential to the position. The ideal candidate will ask the extra question to help make connections and identify solutions, especially when the solution, or even the problem, might not be obvious.
- At least 8 years of professional experience working on farms, in land stewardship or land management, or agricultural or related technical assistance role, including at least two years in a management position. A college degree in a directly related field may be substituted for up to 4 years of work experience.
- A proven track record of planning and/or implementing conservation farming practices, with experience with NRCS funded conservation practices being especially valuable.
- Technical certifications or credentials in conservation planning, soil health management, nutrient management, agricultural engineering or related fields is preferred.
- Proven ability to develop relationships with others and support them in achieving their goals, ideally in a farming or land management context.
- Ability to see the big picture while being incredibly detail oriented.
- Success in roles requiring simultaneous management of multiple priorities and processes under tight timelines is important.
- Proven ability to work with efficiency, flexibility, and good humor.
- Demonstrated ability to build and maintain relationships with a wide array of people and ability to work in different work settings ranging from virtual, office and in the field.
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills are essential.
- A deep working knowledge of agriculture or conservation and an understanding of the culture of farmers and farming.
- Passionate about American Farmland Trust's mission and impact.
- A valid US driver's license and access to reliable transportation.
- Completion of a federal background check during the initial months of employment is required for this role. Continued employment is contingent on successful completion of this background check.
- This is a remote position based in Massachusetts.
While AFT prefers for this to be a full-time position (37.5 hour/week), alternative arrangements will be considered for the ideal candidate.
CompensationThe salary range is from $70,000 to $75,000 for full-time employees, based upon experience. While we expect the program and this role to continue, employment is subject to available funding.
American Farmland Trust offers a full benefits package for full time employees:
- Medical & Prescription Coverage
- Dental Coverage
- Vision Coverage
- Company Paid Life Insurance & Long-Term Disability (LTD)
- Voluntary Life Insurance
- Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Healthcare & Dependent Care
- Health Savings Account (HSA)
- 401(k) plus 10% match (after 6 months of employment)
- Sick Leave: Regular full-time employees accrue 3.5 hours per pay period (13 sick days per year).
- Vacation Leave: Accrue 15 days during the first year increasing by one day per year to 20 days per
- Holidays: The Company observes eleven fixed holidays every year (all offices closed): plus, a choice of 3 floating holidays depending on hire month.
While applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled, applicants who apply with a resume and cover letter by December 15, 2023 will be reviewed first.
Additional Related Positions in New England This is one of several related positions that will be filled within the coming months. These include other Climate Solutions Specialists and another Sr. Conservation Technical Specialist to work in Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. Be sure to check our Careers page (farmland.org/careers) to see what's currently posted - and consider joining our amazing team that's helping farmers across New England!
Why you should apply
- Be a part of a purpose-driven, committed, knowledgeable, high-performing, experienced and fun team.
- A diverse and inclusive work culture
- A cause and mission you can be proud of
- Competitive compensation and benefits
- Remote work
- Flexible scheduling
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.
When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.
|Category||General / Stewardship, Restoration, Wildlife|
|Tags||Outreach, Sustainable Agriculture, Soil Science|