American Farmland Trust Seeks Land Use & Protection Research Director

Posted on July 28, 2022
American Farmland Trust Seeks Land Use & Protection Research Director
Position Title: 

The Land Use and Protection Research Director


Position Summary:

Reporting to the Vice President of Programs, the Director of Land Use and Protection Research will lead development and implementation of a land use and farmland protection research agenda that informs AFT's programs and public policy development.

The Director and the team will be part of AFT's internal virtual farmland protection unit, comprised of the Farmland Information Center, Land Projects, Legal Team and National Agricultural Land Network, and will work with unit members to identify and prioritize research questions that could advance national farmland protection and retention efforts and AFT's policy and program development.


What You'll Be Working On
  • Providing leadership and management for the Land Use and Protection Research Initiative team and current/future portfolio of projects including the following: manage the team, budget, and project portfolio including the annual work planning and budgeting process for the Initiative; oversee reporting and all project-related communications with NRCS and other funders; and lead on initiative fundraising.
  • Developing and implementing a long-term vision and strategy for the Land Use and Protection Research Initiative.
  • Leading initiative deliverables that are focused on geospatial mapping (e.g., documenting ecosystem service benefits of permanent agricultural easements and documenting climate benefits of avoided conversion) including methods development, modeling, analysis of results, report writing, extension/outreach, and media/communications elements (interactive website, staff training, and professional presentations).
  • As a member of AFT's internal virtual farmland protection unit, comprised of the Farmland Information Center, National Agricultural Land Network, Land Projects, and Legal Team, work collaboratively with the unit to identify and prioritize AFT land-use and farmland protection research needs and develop project ideas and funding proposals to meet those needs to further AFT's holistic mission.
  • Working with AFT's Development department and program director peers to fundraise to support and expand Land Use Research initiative projects.
  • Providing research/analyses that can help guide AFT's policy development and implementation.
  • Overseeing the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Team, including continued development of a program providing fee-for-service GIS assistance to internal and external clients.
  • Supporting a strong team culture of shared learning, innovation and problem solving among AFT staff.
Required QualificationS

This is a management position. All candidates must have demonstrated:

  • Team (both remote and in-person), budget and project/portfolio management experience.
  • Project management skills and experience managing diverse teams of individuals, peers, and partners with flexibility and creativity.
  • Work history of developing and implementing effective land-use research programs and projects.
  • Experience in using research results to inform advocacy at the state and/or federal levels.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to develop partnerships with academic researchers.
  • Experience and success in fundraising.


Education & Experience

PhD preferred plus at least 3 years of related experience; or, an MS and at least five to ten years of related experience in agricultural land use or planning discipline with a focus on land use policies, knowledge of policies, programs and tools that protect agricultural land and support agriculture, geography, agriculture, landscape ecology, or a related field.


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