Climate and Water Solutions Implementation Specialist, American Farmland Trust
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.
As a Climate Solutions Implementation Specialist, you will help farmers access and utilize the unprecedented new US government funding to implement conservation practices that have climate resilience and emissions mitigation benefits. You will bring your farming experience and understandings of climate solutions to support farmers in navigating USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs that provide financial incentives like the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) and the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). In addition to doing outreach to support farmers in accessing programs, you also support farmers and other landowners who have already secured financial assistance in overcoming any barriers to implementing these practices. You will assist farmers with a wide range of agronomic and engineering practices by helping to find more funding, consulting other technical experts, finding supplies or specialized equipment, and coordinating with stakeholders. Climate Solutions Implementation Specialists also contribute to outreach and educational event planning to promote awareness and interest among the farming community in practices that have climate benefits. The ideal candidate will have existing connections within the farm community and will have experience working with a wide variety of farm types and with diverse populations. You will use your real-world experience on farms to provide actionable assistance to farmers seeking to implement conservation practices on their land.
You will work in a unique role, as an AFT employee on a team of Implementation Specialists working across Massachusetts in deep cooperation and frequent coordination with the funder, NRCS MA. The Climate & Water Solutions Implementation Specialist will provide implementation assistance for water management practices on farms, communicate with and attend meetings with NRCS and AFT staff in Massachusetts, and coordinate one on-farm event each year that demonstrates high-priority practices and provides advanced training opportunities related to irrigation, grassed waterways, filter strips, nutrient management, edge-of-field practices, subsurface drainage or whole farm water management planning. We are currently hiring three Climate Solutions Implementation Specialists who will work together as a team in Massachusetts, but also specialize and focus on specific topics. The other two positions are a Climate & Carbon Specialist, and a Climate & Energy Specialist.
- Assist the NRCS Massachusetts Assistant Conservationist for Field Operations in identifying priority farmer clients for targeted technical assistance and support.
- Coordinate climate-related practice workshops for farmers and technical service providers in collaboration with NRCS and AFT staff.
- Establish direct contact with farmers holding NRCS financial assistance contracts, using various methods (e-mail, phone, on-site visits).
- Aid in the interpretation and layout of practices, advise on practice implementation, and follow-up on completed practices.
- Work with farmers to identify barriers to project completion. Furnish necessary technical assistance directly, where possible. Connect the farmer with external sources of assistance.
- Identify areas where practices implementation within the existing contract requirements is not possible and communicate the need for re-evaluation to NRCS.
- Maintain extensive documentation of work with farmers, establish and maintain program files and documents for program delivery, and support the maintenance of program contract files.
- Assist field office staff in contacting program applicants and work with farmers to compile necessary data for contract completion.
- Maintain workload registers with information from contracts for needed follow-up, and perform follow-up tasks.
- Maintain mailing and contact lists for program delivery.
- Attend NRCS field operations team leadership meetings as needed.
- Develop and curate a deep contact list of service providers and contractors across the state.
- Contribute to outreach materials for farmers regarding climate change, conservation practice implementation, and NRCS programs.
- Coordinate outreach and services with other AFT Implementation Specialists, relevant NRCS field staff and partner planners as needed for efficiency and expertise.
- A minimum of 7 years of professional experience in farming, land stewardship, or land management. A college degree in a related field can substitute for up to 4 years of work experience.
- A proven track record of implementing or assisting with implementation of conservation practices.
- Ability to travel across the state of Massachusetts visiting diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions.
- Experience and working knowledge of NRCS funded conservation practices and NRCS program is especially valuable, but not required.
- A deep working knowledge of New England agriculture or conservation and an understanding of the culture of farmers and farming.
- Proven track record in developing and maintaining relationships with others and supporting them in achieving their goals, ideally in a farming or land management context.
- Success in roles requiring simultaneous management of multiple priorities under tight timelines.
- Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills are essential, as are an ability to work with efficiency, flexibility, and good humor.
- A valid US driver's license and access to reliable transportation.
- Passionate about American Farmland Trust's mission and impact.
- While AFT prefers for this to be a full-time position (37.5 hour/week), alternative arrangements will be considered for the ideal candidate.
While applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled, applicants who apply by November 26th will be reviewed first.