American Farmland Trust: North Carolina Implementation Specialist

Posted on March 20, 2024
American Farmland Trust: North Carolina Implementation Specialist
Position Title

North Carolina Implementation Specialist

Job Location: 

Washington, Dist. Columbia, 20036 United States

Job Purpose:

The North Carolina Implementation Specialist (Specialist) is a position offering an exciting opportunity to help farmers and program participants implement conservation practices. In this role you will act in support of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), meeting with farmers and program participants who have already secured financial assistance but have not yet started or fully implemented the practices for which they have received funding. You will assist those participants in overcoming any barriers to implementing these practices. This technical assistance will support a wide range of agronomic and engineering practices, and will vary by farm and by practice. Examples of technical assistance include: helping to find more funding, referring farmers to and/or consulting other technical experts, researching and selecting appropriate contractors, finding supplies or specialized equipment, coordinating with other government entities, facilitating communication between contractors, participants and NRCS staff, and more. You will work in a unique role, as an AFT employee, but in deep cooperation and frequent coordination with the funder, NRCS. NRCS and AFT will collaborate to guide your workflow to assure it is integrated with NRCS’s needs and utilizes the full depth of both NRCS and AFT resources and expertise. While the position will initially focus on targeted intervention to support contracts that are facing significant hurdles to implementation, and require extensive support, with time and focus it will transition to being more proactive, supporting program participants that are not yet facing critical deadlines in their contracts, and will focus on supporting farmers and program participants proactively to implement practices on time and in the most useful manner to the farmer. The position is initially funded through a cooperative agreement with (NRCS) and will work within AFT’s Southeast Regional Team. 

duties and responsibilities:
  • Assist NRCS in identifying priority clients for targeted intervention and support.
  • Coordinate outreach and services with other AFT staff, relevant NRCS field staff and partner planners as needed for efficiency and expertise.
  • Using a variety of methods (e-mail, phone, or traveling to the farm) establish direct contact with farmers and program participants with existing financial assistance contracts with NRCS.
  • Work with the farmers and program participants to identify barriers to project completion.
  • Where possible, furnish necessary technical assistance directly. 
  • Where the Specialist is unable to provide the assistance necessary, identify sources of assistance and connect the farmer or program participant with those external sources.
  • Identify areas where practices implementation within the existing contract requirements is not possible and communicate the situation and need for contract modifications to NRCS.
  • Aid in the interpretation and layout of practices, and in checking on completed practices.
  • Develop and compile extensive notes on all interactions with farmers and program participants to properly document support and progress towards contract completion.
  • Contribute to the maintenance of program contract file folders.
  • Assist field office staff with contacting program applicants for data collection.
  • Work with farmers and program participants to compile necessary data for contract completion.
  • Assist in maintaining workload registers with information from contracts for needed follow-up, and in carrying out some basic functions of the follow-up schedule.
  • Establish and maintain program files and documents for program delivery and documentation.
  • Maintain mailing and contact lists for program delivery.
  • Attend meetings to learn, gather data and record information.
  • Attending meetings with NRCS staff, where appropriate.
  • Maintain records of work accomplishments for reports relative to all agricultural programs.
  • Develop and curate a deep contact list of service providers and contractors across the state.
  • Participate in trainings as appropriate.
  • Travel visiting diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions. 

The North Carolina Implementation Specialist must be a highly motivated and entrepreneurial problem solver. 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, ranchers, landowners, land managers and program participants seeking to implement conservation practices on their land. 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. 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, even when the solution, or even the problem might not be obvious. Specific qualifications of the ideal candidate are:

At least 7 years of professional experience, working on farms or in land stewardship or land management positions. A college degree in a directly related field may be substituted for up to 4 years of work experience. 

  • A proven track record of implementing or assisting with implementation of conservation practices.
  • Experience with NRCS funded conservation practices is especially valuable, but not required.
  • Proven track record in developing relationships with diverse groups and supporting 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 – junior and senior, for-profit, and nonprofit, and from diverse backgrounds.
  • 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.
  • A valid US driver’s license and access to reliable transportation. 
  • Passionate about American Farmland Trust’s mission and impact. 
  • 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. 
to Apply CLICK HERE.