Senior Geospatial Data Coordinator

Practical Farmers of Iowa

Ames, Iowa

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $54,500 to $60,000
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

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Practical Farmers of Iowa is Hiring a Senior Geospatial Data Coordinator

About PFI

Practical Farmers of Iowa is a nonprofit organization that has worked to equip farmers to build resilient farms and communities since 1985. We create learning opportunities via farmer-led events, on-farm research and educational content through our robust network of farmers. We also provide funding and technical assistance to help farmers adopt regenerative farming practices and grow farm businesses. Our vision is an Iowa with healthy soil, healthy food, clean air, clean water, resilient farms and vibrant communities.

This work has always been rooted in our value of welcoming everyone and creating a culture of mutual respect. We believe that a diversity of people, ideas and perspectives strengthens our ability to find creative solutions, enriches our understanding and broadens our impact. At Practical Farmers, we celebrate this diversity and are committed to ensuring that our policies and practices create an equitable and inclusive workplace. We take equal opportunity seriously and seek to empower and support all applicants and teammates. 

Practical Farmers offers a flexible, supportive and fast-paced work environment. Professional development is a core part of our culture and team members are encouraged to take independent initiative to help fulfill our mission. 

About the Position

PFI’s research department is primarily responsible for our Cooperators’ Program, through which farmers conduct timely and relevant on-farm research to answer questions about their farms and share what they’ve learned with others. PFI also offers incentive and technical support programs for environmentally friendly farming practices, many of which have been verified by on-farm research. 

Through these programs, we work with thousands of farmers in Iowa and surrounding states, who share data with us on everything from farm enterprises and management practices to field locations, soil attributes, habitat and wildlife on their farms. As we grow, we’re excited to harness this geospatial data to guide our programming, help farmers achieve their goals and expand our impact on the landscape. 

We’re seeking a senior geospatial data coordinator to lead this work. In this newly created role, you’ll help us navigate opportunities and establish protocols for effectively using geospatial data. As the geospatial data expert, you will set the tone for how we collect, store, access and visualize geospatial data across the organization. Part of this work will involve ensuring geospatial data collection methods are based on clearly defined objectives and outcomes. 

Because the position is new at PFI, you’ll have a unique opportunity to apply your expertise and creativity to shape the future direction of our work. For instance, your insights will improve how we collect field locations from farms participating in our incentive programs. You will help develop an efficient process for teammates to request maps and spatial analyses for reporting to farmers, partners and other relevant parties. You will also play a pivotal role in positioning PFI to develop remote sensing techniques for monitoring and analyzing cover crop acres enrolled in our research and incentive programs. 

If you enjoy collaborating with a dedicated group of farmers and teammates, are skilled at working with geospatial data and are excited by the prospect of paving a path for how to use this data ethically and effectively to benefit farmers and a more resilient landscape, we want to hear from you.


  • Design and implement processes to ensure consistency and efficiency of organizational geospatial data needs:

                      -Select and maintain appropriate geographic information systems platforms.

                      -Establish data collection and storage standards.

                      -Handle database administration for teammates who use GIS data.

  • Facilitate collaboration between departments and teams to achieve project objectives concerning geospatial data:

                     -Ensure teammates avoid needless redundancies after data has been collected and cataloged.

                     -Be the point person for requests from teammates who need geospatial data analyses and visualizations.

  • Conduct independent spatial analyses of on-farm data, create maps and provide insights that can help meet program objectives and develop new projects. 
  • Help facilitate PFI’s annual Cooperators’ Meeting, held every December in Ames, Iowa, where farmers gather to share what they learned through on-farm research and prioritize future projects.

Required Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Master’s degree in a science-related field and two years of experience, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Experience with coding languages (R, Python, etc.) for accessing, manipulating and analyzing data sets.
  • Experience with GIS, both proprietary (ESRI/ArcGIS, Google Earth Engine, etc.) and open-source (QGIS, etc.).
  • Experience managing large databases, including cleaning, maintaining and curating data sets.
  • Strong data management, analysis, interpretation and visualization skills.
  • Ability to solve problems creatively. 
  • Ability to work with a multidisciplinary team and also independently.
  • Ability to manage several concurrently active projects.
  • Ability to organize work, set goals and adhere to deadlines.
  • Knowledge of current trends in Midwestern agricultural systems.

Desired Qualifications and Characteristics

  • Experience with proprietary farm mapping software (Ag Leader, John Deere APEX, etc.).
  • Experience with remote sensing techniques using satellite and aerial imagery.
  • Experience with Microsoft SharePoint environment.
  • Understanding of the social and community dimensions of agriculture.
  • Experience training teammates of various skill levels.
  • Experience facilitating events.
  • Experience with fundraising, grant writing and reporting.
  • Clear interest in applying their skills to serving the learning outcomes desired by farmers.


This is a full-time position based in our Ames, Iowa, office with potential for a remote schedule. Strong preference will be given to candidates who can work from our Ames office one to two days per week. The candidate must be in the Ames office at least once per month and be able to travel around Iowa and surrounding states to various farms on occasion. The salary range for this position is $54,500 to $60,000, with annual opportunity for merit salary increases and position advancement. 


PFI values its employees and has a flexible and supportive work environment. We offer employees a competitive benefits package that includes employee health insurance with 100% employer-paid premium, generous paid time off, flexible hours, six weeks of fully paid parental leave and 4% automatic 401k contribution after one year of employment. 

We also encourage employee professional development and offer a range of specialty benefits employees can use to support their wellness, sustainability and financial goals. Examples of our specialty benefits include contributions towards spouse and dependent health insurance, stipends for remote workers and reimbursements for fitness costs, CSA subscriptions, student loans or eco-friendly purchases. Practical Farmers is a family-friendly employer. 

How to Apply

Please apply by clicking the apply button and include contact information, cover letter, resume and references. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.


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Category Admin & Leadership , General / Stewardship
Tags GIS , Sustainable Agriculture