Hiring: Conservation Implementation Specialist – American Farmland Trust

Conservation Implementation Specialist – Western Mass. (Full-Time)

Who We Are

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.

What You Will Do

The Implementation Specialist (Specialist) is a position offering an exciting opportunity to help farmers and other landowners implement conservation practices. In this role you will act in support of USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), meeting with farmers and other landowners 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 farmers in overcoming any barriers to implementing these practices. This technical assistance will support of 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, farmers 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’s Assistant Conservationist for Field Operations (ASTC-Operations) or their designee will 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 farmers that are not yet facing critical deadlines in their contracts, and will focus on supporting farmers proactively to implement practices on time and in the most useful manner to the farmer.

The Implementation Specialist must be a highly motivated and entrepreneurial problem solver.  They should be able to use their real-world experience on farms to provide actionable assistance to farmers 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.

Responsibilities Include:  

  • Assist the NRCS Massachusetts Assistant Conservationist for Field Operations in identifying priority clients for targeted intervention and support.
  • Coordinate outreach and services with other AFT Implementation Specialists, 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 with existing financial assistance contracts with NRCS.
  • Work with the farmers 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 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 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 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 leadership meetings of the NRCS field operations team, 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 primarily in Western Massachusetts visiting diverse farms and farmers to execute the job functions, but some statewide travel also required.

Role Requirements:

  • 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 others 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 New England 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.
  • While AFT prefers for this to be a full-time position (37.5 hour/week), alternative arrangements will be considered for the ideal candidate.


The salary range is from $52,000 to $60,000 for full-time employees, based upon experience.

American Farmland Trust offers a full benefits package for full time employees:

  • Medical & Prescription Coverage
  • Dental Coverage
  • Vision Coverage
  • Company Paid Life Insurance & Long-Term Disability (LTD)
  • Voluntary Life Insurance
  • Flexible Spending Account (FSA) – Healthcare & Dependent Care
  • Health Savings Account (HSA)
  • 401(k)
  • Sick Leave: Regular full-time employees accrue 3.5 hours per pay period (13 “sick days” per year).
  • Vacation Leave: Accrue 15 days during the first year increasing by one day per year to 20 days per
  • Holidays: The Company observes the following fixed eleven holidays during the year (all offices closed): plus, choice of 3 other floating holidays depending on hiring date.


While applications will be accepted and reviewed until the position is filled, applicants who apply by November 26th will be reviewed first.

Additional Related Positions in New England

This posting is one of several similar positions across New England that will be filled within the next six months. We are currently recruiting Climate Solutions Implementation Specialist positions in Massachusetts which will support implementation with a specific focus on climate-related practices. We encourage you to review the related Climate Solutions Implementation Specialist positions description and consider applying concurrently.

American Farmland Trust provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetics. In addition to federal law requirements, American Farmland Trust complies with applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment in every location in which the organization has facilities. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

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