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Program Director

Accelerating Appalachia
Lexington, Kentucky, US
Closing date
Jun 9, 2024

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Consultancy/Private Sector
Conservation science
Climate Change
Salary Type
Employment Type
Full time
Accelerating Appalachia is seeking an experienced Program Director who is passionate about regenerative/conservation agriculture and supporting underserved farmers in Central Appalachia and the Southeastern US. We are excited to find a proactive collaborator who wants to make a difference by helping a committed, focused team achieve its highest potential.

About Accelerating Appalachia

Our mission is to support resilient, regional production of food, fiber, and forest products, and rebuild vibrant rural communities. Accelerating Appalachia (ACAP) has worked to scale regenerative and equitable agriculture businesses since 2013. We started as the world's first regenerative agriculture business accelerator and are now working directly with farmers to incentivize and train them to adopt climate-smart agriculture and forestry practices. In 2023, we launched Building Soil, Building Equity (BSBE), funded by the USDA's Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities initiative.

BSBE will serve hundreds of farmers in eight states in the Central/Southern Appalachian region and rural Southeast. Accelerating Appalachia is the primary grant awardee for BSBE, but we partner with multiple organizations.

About the Role

The Program Director (PD) will coordinate our BSBE program. This initiative empowers farmers to adopt agricultural practices that enhance soil health, mitigate climate change, and promote economic equity. The PD will play a pivotal role in implementing and managing all aspects of the program, ensuring its success and positive impact.

As a core member of the ACAP team, the PD is a service-oriented problem solver. They support the entire ACAP team and network in the day-to-day operations of the BSBE program, providing hands-on management and leadership to ensure program deliverables are met.

Core Responsibilities

Co-execute a comprehensive strategy for the BSBE program in alignment with Accelerating Appalachia's goals and grant outcomes.

Coordinate the recruitment, selection, and onboarding process for program participants.

Provide customer-centric support to program participants, working alongside our core and tech teams to help farmers implement climate-smart, regenerative agriculture practices and navigate challenges.

Build structures and develop Standard Operating Procedures that fit the organization and bring efficiency.

Establish, maintain, and evolve workflows and processes to ensure optimal performance.

Develop and maintain effective structures for communication and knowledge management that ensure the team and partners have the information required to make decisions effectively.

Support quarterly and annual reporting to the USDA under the BSBE grant, coordinating with all other team members and subawardees to ensure all necessary information is available to submit accurate and timely reports.

Monitor program budgeting, financial management of participant reimbursements and advances, and financial reporting to ensure grant compliance.

Monitor program progress, evaluate outcomes, and identify opportunities for continuous improvement and innovation.

Assist in the development and monitoring of KPIs, ensuring there is accountability throughout the team.


About You

You have a deep appreciation for nature and are passionate about ACAP's work, farmers, and conservation/regenerative agriculture. You have an entrepreneurial spirit and thrive in an emergent environment while bringing a strong capacity for building and maintaining structure - and inherently understand the balance that is necessary between the two.

You are a natural collaborator, proactive and excited to work with an outstanding team on the details of program building and implementation.

Desired Characteristics


Are able to see the landscape of the program and build upon existing plans for a minimum 5 year project; able to see the whole picture as well as zero in on and attend to details.

Are strategic and innovative, capable of operationalizing big visions and creating a highly effective and efficient operating environment.

Maintain calm and are solutions-oriented in complex, fast-moving situations.

Are hands-on, highly adaptable, and able to prioritize effectively.

Are focused on outcomes, able to continuously assess what is working, what is not, and take corrective action as necessary.

Understand the complexities of the region with a deep care for the issues facing the farmers and communities of the region.

Are approachable, patient, and engender trust with participants and other stakeholders in the program.

Are a clear and active communicator and listener who is resourceful in finding answers, and able to provide timely support for participants and other stakeholders.

Are highly organized and self-motivated.

Are familiar with budgeting, have a basic understanding of Quickbooks, and are able to read and understand a P&L statement.

Approach failure as a learning opportunity and are able to implement processes and measures that allow failure to be fast and small.

Desired Experience

You have:

A bachelor's degree in the field of agriculture, natural resources, agribusiness, or a related field.

A minimum of 5 years of experience in program management or related roles, with a focus on agriculture and sustainability.

A proven track record of effectively managing complex projects, engaging diverse stakeholders, and achieving measurable outcomes.

A demonstrated commitment to historically underserved farmers and ranchers with an understanding of the social, economic, and environmental challenges facing rural communities in Central Appalachia and the rural Southeast.

Experience working with and managing grants; working with Federal grants and agencies is highly preferred.

Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, with the ability to articulate a compelling vision and engage with diverse audiences.

Strong leadership skills, including the ability to inspire and motivate team members, partners, and program participants in a collaborative environment.

Experience working in non-profit organizations, social enterprises, or community-based initiatives.

Proficiency in Microsoft Office and Google Suite, and hands-on experience with project management software; familiarity with Airtable and CRM programs is a plus.

Location, Hours, and Travel

ACAP is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. This is a hybrid position allowing work from home. While working hours are flexible, the PD must be reasonably available and responsive to the ACAP team, subawardees, and farmers. There may be some evening and weekend work from time to time, though this will not be extensive. The PD must be willing and able to travel regularly to meet with farmer participants in the program and attend in-person meetings in Lexington. Thus, the PD must live in the area covered by the BSBE grant - which is Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and southern OH.


Compensation and Benefits

ACAP strives to design compensation and benefit packages to be mutualistic between the organization and the individual, allowing each person to thrive in their role with autonomy, support, encouragement, and energy.

Salary range $75,000 - $85,000, commensurate with experience.

Comprehensive benefits package, including flexible time off (consisting of vacation, sick, mental health, and family leave), health insurance, and retirement.

Collaborative and supportive work environment with passionate colleagues and partners.

Opportunity to make a meaningful difference in the lives of farmers, communities, and ecosystems in Central Appalachia and the rural Southeast.

Application Deadline: Friday, June 14, 2024.

If you are passionate about conservation/regenerative agriculture, soil health, community and farmer empowerment, and you're ready to join a transformative program in the Central Appalachian/rural Southeastern region, we encourage you to apply for the position of Program Director at Accelerating Appalachia. Join us in creating a more resilient, equitable, and sustainable future for our region.

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