Farmer Engagement Specialist

Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020
 Full Time
 Large scale
 All - Livestock
 Farming Practices

Position Description

Heifer International is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, religion, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, status as a protected veteran, or status as a qualified individual with disability.


The Farmer Engagement Specialist is a key contributor to Heifer USA’s work and is responsible for ensuring our programs effectively engage limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers, especially in our partner livestock cooperative and our onsite and virtual training programs. The Farmer Engagement Specialist will lead efforts to reach diverse rural communities (e.g., Black, White, Latino, Native American, Asian, etc.) in the US and provide support and leadership to create opportunities and market access leading to a living income. Knowledge and passion for regenerative agriculture and social justice is essential.

The Farmer Engagement Specialist will spend approximately half of their time in and around Arkansas and the other half in communities across the Mid-South, Deep-South and beyond to aid in the recruitment of diverse smallholder, livelihood-oriented producers.

Heifer USA believes small-scale farmers can achieve sustainable rural livelihoods. We provide training and support in environmentally responsible farming, connect farmers to profitable and reliable markets, and educate farmers on sustainable and animal welfare approved practices.

Essential Character Traits

Experience in intercultural & diverse environments; Highly emotionally intelligent; thrives in diverse environments; Commitment to Excellence; Solution Oriented; Entrepreneurial; Fail fast and small; Action-oriented; Passion for the mission; Willingness to Challenge the Status Quo; Self-starter with proactive tendencies; Tenacity; Creativity; A “whatever-it-takes-to-get-the-job-done” mentality; Thrives in a culturally diverse environment; Detail Oriented; Systematic; Organized; Collaborative; Trustworthy; Excellent Communicator; and Flexibility.

Responsibilities & Deliverables

A. Farmer Outreach (50%)

  • Identify, vet, and recruit small-holder farmers who are at the intersection of marginalization, need and opportunity.
  • Conduct farm visits to assess potential new farm partners and the selection of appropriate partners.
  • Provide ongoing support to member farmers with the view to increase production and business capacity.
  • Coordinate between Grass Roots Farmers’ Cooperative and other service providers to ensure services are efficiently and effectively delivered to farmers.
  • Coordinate efforts to ensure technical support is provided to producers to prepare and implement efficient feeding and breeding plans for all livestock.

B. Strategy and Planning (25%)

  • Coordinate and contribute to the development and implementation of Heifer USA’sfarmer engagement strategy.
  • Ensure effectiveness, efficiency, timeliness, and consistency for programmatic excellence.
  • Coordinate project management that reflects Heifer USA’s priorities for quality, impact, scale, and cost-efficiency.
  • Build and nurture good working partnerships and linkages with NGOs, government agencies, and other relevant stakeholders in the project areas to advance the mission of Heifer USA.
  • Results-Based Management practices promoted.
  • Develop and implement training plans to prepare new coop farmers for success.
  • Coordinate the selection process of farmers to meet allocations for production from limited resource and socially disadvantaged farmers.
  • Conduct necessary research to stay informed on issues related to regenerative farming in the US and the leading organizations working in this space.

C. Administration and Reporting (20%)

  • Document lessons learned and help disseminate learning to Heifer International and other stakeholders.
  • Assist in program and project development and planning activities.
  • Annually lead collection of evaluation data, analysis and report on program and project effectiveness.
  • Maintain project management software data requirements for Heifer USA.
  • Coordinate and/or develop and distribute reports, project updates, and internal award documents including project reports to donors.
  • Create and/or edit documents, presentations, reports, emails, proposals, and other items, as necessary.

D. May perform other job-related duties as assigned (5%)

Minimum Requirements

Bachelor’s degree in community or economic development, international studies, nonprofit management, or sustainable development plus five (5) years of related experience.

Preferred Requirements

  • Master’s degree
  • Experience in project management 
  • Direct experience working with diverse project partners
  • Sound project and proposal development skills
  • Strong organizational skills

Most Critical Proficiencies

  • A good understanding and sensitivity to issues associated with poverty, hunger and environment, and knowledge of the context to which non-profit organizations operate.
  • Strong leadership skills, with the ability to address conflicts amongst diverse teams and constituents.
  • Proficient knowledge of word processing, spreadsheets, presentation tools, electronic mail (Microsoft Office preferred) and Internet.
  • Knowledge of and experience in agro-enterprise, commodity value-chain and cooperative development.

Essential Job Functions and Physical Demands

  1. Demonstrated creativity, ability to think systematically, willingness and ability to incorporate innovative solutions.
  2. Excellent interpersonal and communication skills with the ability to work cooperatively, tactfully, and diplomatically with culturally diverse groups of people.
  3. Constant face-to-face, telephone and electronic communication with colleagues and the public to scale up country program visibility.
  4. May require constant sitting, working at a computer, focusing for extended periods of time and performing office work in the field and/or in remote conditions.
  5. Ability to manage and execute multiple tasks with little supervision while meeting strict deadlines.
  6. Ability to work with sensitive information and maintain confidentiality.
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