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Midwest Program Manager

American Farmland Trust
Chicago, Illinois, US
Closing date
May 16, 2022

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Academic / Research
Conservation science
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
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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. 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.

We provide equal employment opportunities (EEO) to all employees and applicants for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, expression or identity, 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 we have 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.


The Midwest Program Manager position offers an exciting opportunity to help carry out the strategic agenda of a growing, forward-looking conservation organization. S/he will have the opportunity to work across teams within AFT's Midwest Region, as well as with external partners including farmers, landowners, and agricultural professionals. This a permanent position that will work to support and build upon AFT programs in the Midwest, including staff working in Chicago, central and southern Illinois, and Wisconsin. The Midwest Program Manager will work with farmers, farmland owners (especially non-operating landowners) as well as state and federal agencies, agricultural service providers, and conservation leaders to provide coordination across diverse groups of partners and programs. This is a remote work position and will report directly to the Midwest Director.

The Program Manager takes an active role in defining the regional program strategy and developing related work plans. This includes engaging with internal and external partners to identify opportunities, securing funds to support program work, tracking deliverables and project budgets, ensuring that invoices and reports are submitted on time, and providing supervision for project staff.

What You'll Be Working On
  • Develop and manage projects to promote sound farming practices, accelerate implementation of Illinois' Nutrient Loss Reduction Strategy, and help farmers combat climate change.
  • Supervise field-based program staff and work with stakeholders to increase adoption of conservation cropping systems, track outreach and education events, and ensure consistent messaging to advance watershed goals.
  • Develop annual program goals and track project budgets.
  • Develop programs for a diversity of stakeholders across multiple formats, such as webinars, networking events, educational workshops and field days.
  • Provide communications staff with content for social media campaigns, regular email updates, and other digital communications, including narratives describing farmers who have successfully transitioned to conservation cropping systems and others engaged in AFT programs.
  • Manage contracts and memorandums of understanding between partner organizations and ensure successful completion of deliverables.
  • Steward prospective and current funders and assist in the development of compelling proposals to federal, state, and private funders to secure funding for priority projects and report on results.
  • Help build positive relations with the team and external partners.
  • Track project activities and outcomes and contribute to project-related reports.
  • Support program growth and development.
  • Represent AFT at public meetings, field days, and educational events.
  • Complete other duties as assigned.

The Midwest Program Manager must be entrepreneurial and a self-starter, outgoing and energetic, organized, and capable of working well independently as well as part of a team, and possesses:
  • Supervisory experience including motivating, leading, setting objectives, and managing budgets and deadlines.
  • Direct professional experience working with farmers, non-farming landowners, women, Black, Indigenous, People of Color, or other socially disadvantaged farmers, public officials, agricultural and conservation organizations, commodity groups, and academic institutions.
  • Direct professional experience building networks, partnership development, and organizing events for farmers, landowners, and agricultural professionals.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills with demonstrated commitment to high-quality work.
  • Knowledge of the Midwest agricultural landscape, natural resource concerns and key stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion, and justice and knowledgeable about how those principles can be effectively applied in practice.
  • Willingness to travel within the Midwest Region.

Education & Experience
  • BA or BS degree and a minimum of 5 years of related work experience in agriculture or natural resource planning. An advanced degree in one or more of the disciplines noted may substitute for 2 years of work experience.


American Farmland Trust pays salaries that are competitive with nonprofits of our budget size, and offers meaningful vacation, medical, retirement and other benefits. Salary range is from $70,000 to $75,000. Salary is negotiable based upon experience.

Why you should apply
  • Be a part of a purpose-driven, committed, knowledgeable, high-performing, experienced and fun team
  • A diverse and inclusive work environment
  • A cause and mission you can be proud of
  • Competitive compensation & Benefits
  • Remote work opportunities
  • Flexible scheduling

Ready to apply? If this job sounds like a fit for you, then click on the 'apply' button below.

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