Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
This job is closed.

American Farmland Trust

Louisville, KY, USA
Full Time
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Commercial Rye Cover Crop Project Manager

Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020
 Full Time
 Large scale
 Farming Practices
 All - Cropping
 Soil Health

Position Description

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. A long-time pioneering leader, AFT is now riding a new wave of growth, driven by agriculture’s most pressing needs and opportunities.

AFT is seeking a strong and collaborative manager to lead its Commercial Rye Cover Crop project. The project’s goal is improving farmers’ profitability, soil health and environmental quality through commercialization of rye as a profitable cash/cover crop while supporting local economies and businesses such as brewers, bakers, and distillers who each seek the unique flavor rye imparts in their products and reducing imports of rye from Europe and Canada.

The Manager reports to the Ag Conservation Innovations Initiative Director. The Manager also will work closely with the Senior Director of External Relations, the Vice President of Programs who oversees AFT’s six regional office Directors until a Southeast office is established with a Southeast Regional Director, and other AFT staff as appropriate. The Manager will provide overall leadership for the Commercial Rye Cover Crop project and collaborate and coordinate with regional offices to ensure that AFT’s programming is strategic, synergistic, efficiently delivered, well-received, and impactful.

Duties and Responsibilities:

The primary responsibilities of this position are to direct strategy, provide leadership, and support program activities for the Commercial Rye Cover Crop project and to advance AFT’s mission.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Designs, develops, and implements project strategies and projects.
  • Provides expertise within and outside of AFT regarding the expansion of rye production to 10,000 or more acres across Kentucky over the next three years.
  • Works with AFT’s federal and state policy staff to research, develop and advance policies that promote dialogue between farmers and landowners, and promote pathways for the expansion of commercial rye production.
  • Works collaboratively with academic partners to further our collective understanding of rye production.
  • Works with academic partners and relevant AFT program staff to manage a rigorous evaluative component to the work, ensuring that the impact and effectiveness of initiative activities are tracked and used to develop new programming, engage new partners, and continues to build scientific justification of the importance of this audience.
  • Works collaboratively with AFT’s national initiative directors and regional program directors to ensure that the Commercial Rye Cover Crop project is effectively integrated into national strategies and regional programs.
  • Works with the Senior Director of External Relations and the Development staff to raise funds for the project.
  • Works with Communications staff to actively communicate about the project through a variety of platforms.
  • Works with the Finance and Administration staff to manage and track initiative budgets and potential future staff.
  • Provides national visibility for AFT at workshops, conferences and other relevant venues or platforms.
  • Supports a strong team culture of shared learning and accomplishment among AFT staff.
  • Other duties as assigned.
  • Have fun in your job.


The Manager must be outgoing and energetic, and have direct professional experience working on agriculture and conservation issues. The individual must have knowledge of and experience with one or more of AFT’s mission areas (conservation practices, farmland protection, the generational transition of land) and experience with social and cultural dimensions of agriculture.

The Manager must have the demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with academic, non-governmental and governmental partners to deliver programming and measure progress. This position also requires fundraising experience and the proven ability to work with a development team to secure institutional, governmental and private funds.

The Manager must be able to work closely with farmland owners, agricultural and environmental organizations, universities and other research institutions, and state/federal government agencies. Finally, the manager must also be strategic and entrepreneurial to identify and engage new stakeholders, partners and customers to achieve identified goals and successfully scale up the Initiative.

Other requirements include:

  • A BA or BS degree and a minimum of five years of related work experience in agriculture, soil health, conservation, sustainability, social/behavioral science and/or farmland protection.
  • Work history of successfully developing, implementing, evaluating and scaling up effective programs and projects with a strategic vision.
  • Experience researching, developing and/or implementing policies.
  • Demonstrated project management skill and experience managing diverse teams of individuals, peers, and partners – most of whom do not directly report to you and may not be co-located with you.
  • Demonstrated experience and success in fundraising.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills including an active presence and following on social media.
  • Highly motivated with strong interpersonal skills.
  • Must bring a collaborative, outgoing, professional, and innovative approach to tackling these issues.
  • The ideal candidate will have experience collaborating with people in remote locations.
  • Ability to deliver high quality work in a dynamic organization under time pressure.
  • Ability to travel, primarily within Kentucky and the Southeast region, approximately 25% to 50% of time.
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Contact Information

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