The Midwest Farmland Protection Manager
The Midwest Farmland Protection Manager will report to
the Director of the National Agricultural Land Network (NALN)
and will work closely with staff in in Land Protection Projects,
the Midwest Regional Program, Farm Legacy and
the Farmland Information Center (FIC).
The position is full time and will be based
remotely, although there is potential for the position to be
located in AFT's Ohio or Illinois offices
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. AFT launched the conservation agriculture movement and continues to raise public awareness through our No Farms, No Food message. 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. Long a pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture's most pressing needs and opportunities.
The Midwest Farmland Protection Manager reflects AFT's commitment to expanding farmland protection efforts across the Midwest—a region that showed significant agricultural land loss in AFT's Farms Under Threat: The State of the States report.
The ideal candidate will be able to excite and engage partners in the Midwest around diverse farmland protection strategies and build the capacity of agricultural land protection practitioners, policymakers and planners in the region through training, technical assistance and peer networking. The ideal candidate will also have the skills to identify and facilitate innovative land protection projects where local capacity to protect farmland is limited.
We seek a person with a passion for and direct experience in agricultural land protection including agricultural conservation easement projects, local and state farmland protection policies, land use planning, farm transfer and estate planning and other strategies for permanently protecting or reducing the conversion of farmland. S/he should have strong communications and project management skills, and expertise in engaging the diversity of stakeholders needed to grow the farmland protection movement in the Midwest—from farmers and landowners, to agricultural and conservation organizations, to legislators and state and federal agency partners. Demonstrated ability to coordinate, build and support partner networks and deliver impactful training programs is essential.
The Midwest Farmland Protection Manager will report to the Director of the National Agricultural Land Network (NALN) and will work closely with staff in in Land Protection Projects, the Midwest Regional Program, Farm Legacy and the Farmland Information Center (FIC). The position is full time and will be based remotely, although there is potential for the position to be located in AFT's Ohio or Illinois offices. Some travel is required.
Duties & Responsibilities:
- Coordinate an internal AFT team of National Agricultural Land Network, Land Projects, Policy, Farm Legacy and Midwest Regional Program staff in developing annual farmland protection goals and strategies for the Midwest.
- Identify and pursue opportunities where the NALN can assist the region's land trusts and state and local Purchase of Agriculture Conservation Easement (PACE) programs to strengthen and expand farmland protection efforts.
- Identify opportunities where the NALN can partner with state Departments of Agriculture, USDA-NRCS offices, county planning agencies, farm organizations, conservation districts, land trusts and land trust coalitions on education and outreach around farmland retention and protection, farm transfer and succession, and/or land access and tenure.
- Coordinate the development and delivery of regional NALN online or in-person trainings and peer networking events and creation of informational materials about farmland protection strategies and issues.
- Communicate about NALN Midwest programming through NALN communications platforms, social media, and other vehicles.
- In coordination with AFT's Policy Team and Midwest Regional Program, offer trainings and support for local and state farmland protection policy development.
- In coordination with Land Projects and Farm Legacy staff, identify and facilitate AFT land protection projects, including—
- Responding to inquiries from agricultural landowners about options for protecting their land
- Working with landowners, land trusts and PACE programs and other stakeholders to evaluate and pursue opportunities for donated or purchased agricultural conservation easement projects
- Coordinating transactional due diligence and record keeping
- Ensuring that proposed easement transactions comply with legal standards, industry practices and AFT policies
- Working with agricultural landowners to access federal, state and local farmland protection funding sources.
- Monitor AFT's agricultural conservation easements at locations across the Midwest and perform related follow-up activities in accordance with AFT policies.
- Identify and assist in pursuing individual, institutional or corporate funding opportunities for Midwest farmland protection work.
- Manage project budgets, workplans and contracts with project partners.
- Other duties as assigned.
- A BA or BS degree and at least seven years of agriculture land protection or planning experience, or an advanced degree in a relevant field (e.g. natural resource economics, sustainable agriculture or food systems, planning or public policy) and five years of experience in agricultural land protection or planning
- Ability to develop, implement, and track annual program and budget goals
- Proficiency with developing and leading professional trainings and networking events, including online meetings, trainings and video conferencing
- Track record of engaging and collaborating with farm and conservation organizations, land trusts, federal, state and local agencies
- Experience in grant writing, management and reporting
- Direct experience with agricultural conservation easement projects, including working with USDA-NRCS easement programs, Familiarity with Land Trust Standards and Practices.
- Direct experience working with farmers, ranchers and agricultural landowners
- Strong verbal and written communications skills
- Experience managing multiple projects and partners successfully and meeting budget and work plan goals
- Proficiency with Office 365, including PowerPoint and SharePoint, preferred
- Have fun in your job!
Please submit a cover letter with resume for consideration.
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.